RENO - The names of 51 Washington County veterans who have died during the past year were read during a special Memorial Day weekend ceremony at East Lawn Memorial Park in Reno on Saturday afternoon.
"This is something we've done every year for the last 10 years. We're honoring veterans we've lost between May 15, 2012, and May 15, 2013," said Tony McDaniel, East Lawn director.
He said families of those veterans are honored, too.
A bagpiper and members of Lowell American Legion Post 750’s color guard stand by during Saturday’s Memorial Day service at East Lawn Memorial Park in Reno. (Photo by Sam Shawver)
"As we call the names of the deceased, a family member or friend is handed a balloon, and near the end of the ceremony we have a mass balloon release in honor of those who have passed on in the last year," McDaniel said.
Doves are also released at the end of the event.
"Those doves will always find their way back home, and we hope our boys serving overseas will also find their way home soon," McDaniel added.
Approximately 60 people attended Saturday's event that included a color guard and presentations by members of Lowell American Legion Post 750.
Post commander John Paul said the Legion has always participated in the East Lawn event.
"It's all about honoring the veterans and their families, and we usually have a pretty good turnout," he said. "We'll also hold a reading of these names (today) in Lowell during our Memorial Day parade."
Paul said the Lowell Memorial Day Parade, which begins at 10:30 a.m. today, makes stops at Lowell-area cemeteries to recognize veterans buried there.
Chris Lisk, of Marietta, attended Saturday's event at East Lawn Memorial Gardens in honor of her father-in-law, the late Mervyn Lisk, a U.S. Army veteran who died in February this year.
"It's just a nice way to honor all of our veterans who have passed," she said.
Debbie Cronin of Marietta agreed.
"I don't have anyone on the list that's being read today, but all of my uncles served - most of them lived in Monroe County," she said. "A lot of my friends have also been in the military, and I have some nieces and nephews who are currently in the service."
One of the most recent names added to the list of local veterans was that of Marine Lance Cpl. Joshua Taylor, Paul said.
Taylor and six other members of the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force died March 18 when a mortar shell exploded while they were training at the Hawthorne Army Depot in Nevada.
A 2010 graduate of Marietta High School, Taylor had served in both Afghanistan and Kuwait.
Saturday's ceremonies concluded with the placing of a wreath on a memorial and the playing of "Taps."