Kingman-area residents honor war dead, veterans and current members of military at ceremonies

Kingman-area residents ranging from children to World War II veterans marked Veterans Day Monday by paying tribute to the nation's war dead as well as to veterans and current members of the armed forces.

They marked the holiday with flag-raisings, a blaring trumpet, prayers, patriotic songs, speeches, color guard salutes and other public displays.

About 200 people attended a 45-minute ceremony that started at 9 a.m.

at Centennial Park, and around 50 showed up for a 20-minute ceremony that began at 11 a.m.

at Mountain View Cemetery in Kingman.

They gathered on a chilly, windy morning with thoughts on their minds of the terrorist attacks of Sept.

11, 2001, the continuing presence of American troops in Afghanistan and amid fear of a war looming in Iraq.

Jerry Ambrose, chaplain for Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No.

3516 in Kingman, started the ceremony at the park with a prayer.

"Help us keep the memory of the honored dead," said Ambrose, a Vietnam War veteran.

"We remember their pain and suffering."

A succession of brief speeches followed from public officials and representatives from veterans groups.

Kingman Mayor Les Byram reminded ceremony participants that Veterans Day was formerly called Armistice Day to mark the end of World War I, which former President Woodrow Wilson said was the war "to end all wars."

Acknowledging that history proved Wilson wrong, Byram said, "We continue to hope that we have peace and freedom throughout the world."

Mohave County Supervisor Pete Byers urged those present to "keep up the patriotism.

"Let's get behind all the veterans and all the service people," Byers said.

One way of doing so was suggested by Joe Hart, a Kingman resident elected on Nov.

5 to the state House of Representatives.

"Next year, let's have a Veterans Day parade in Kingman," he said.

Cerbat Precinct Justice of the Peace John Taylor drew parallels between Pearl Harbor and Sept.

11.

He said he spoke to a friend who was 7 when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941, and has talked to his 7-year-old son about Sept.

11.

Sept.

11 created a new class of heroes, said Phil Brock, past commander of American Legion Post No.

14 in Kingman.

"It's the firemen and police officers," Brock said.

"Their lives are on the line."

Ben Leith, a member of the Marine Corps League who served in the Korean and Vietnam wars, used the ceremony to call for the federal government to pay the full costs for benefits for disabled veterans.

"We pay for our own disability," he said.

"That is an injustice that should be straightened out."

Leith said President George W.

Bush opposes the plan because of its costs.

Following the speeches, Golden Valley resident Lori Johnson-Davis belted out a tune that she wrote to commemorate Sept.

11, "This is My Home (I love you USA)."

The ceremony closed with the color guard of VFW Post No.

3516 standing in formation and firing blanks and Johnson-Davis leading a rendition of Lee Greenwood's "I'm Proud to be an American."

The color guard also performed at the ceremony at the cemetery.

Several members of veterans groups made brief speeches.

"Let us honor those who devote their lives," VFW Cmdr.

Robert Eubanks said.

"Let us translate a devotion of war to a devotion of peace."