On May 30, 2016, Memorial Day in Plano was observed at sunset in the beautiful Memorial Park. There, statues stand to remind us of the sacrifices our service men and women have made and of their families, waiting for their loved ones to return home from military service. The ceremony was crowded with the families of veterans and many veterans themselves, with representatives who fought for our country, from WWII to recent service men and women.

Lieutenant Colonel Ed Drain of the US Army, an Iraq Veteran honored with the Bronze Star acknowledged the sacrifice of the 42 Plano service men who died in the line of duty. He was joined by Jim Skinner, a US Air Force Veteran and City of Plano Council Member Rick Grady, an Army Vietnam Veteran who declared that the sunset at Memorial Park Ceremony will be observed in Plano at our Veteran’s Memorial Park every year.

“The Dead Still Speak” by Chaplain Wallace Hale was read by Dave Sweeney, followed by a Wreath Ceremony honoring all branches of the U.S. Military. The names of the fallen Plano soldiers were then read by the families of veterans, including Sarah Nuche, Kade Rutherford, Melody King and Gold Star Sister Skye Trovillion, whose brother Corporal Tyler S. Trovillion, a U.S. Marine, was killed in Iraq in 2005.  For each soldier, a match was lit and placed inside a helmet to represent a life given for our country.

Gwenelle Spann, widow of Tuskegee Airman Calvin Spann was given her husband’s folded flag by representatives from each of the branches of service, followed by a gun salute by the City of Plano Police Honor Guard.

The programs handed out at the beginning of the ceremony was emblazoned with a quote from President Harry S. Truman that explains the importance of recognizing the immense sacrifice of our servicemen and women and reveals the spirit behind Plano’s Sunset at Memorial Park: “Our debt to the heroic men and valiant women in the service of our country can never be repaid. They have earned our undying gratitude. America will never forget their sacrifices.”

Thank you to those who helped make this ceremony possible and honored those 42 who have given their lives in service to our country.

Alexandra Cronin

Alexandra Cronin is Local Profile's senior editor. She has been with the company since 2016. She loves great coffee, good food, and average wine.