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Above, U.S. military veterans pose for a photo following Monday's Memorial Day ceremony at the Hays County Veterans Memorial. Daily Record photos by Nick Castillo

'A day of remembrance': Memorial Day ceremony takes place at Hays County Veterans Memorial

Monday, May 30, 2022

San Marcos and Hays County residents honored those who died while serving in the United States military during the annual Memorial Day ceremony. 

A crowd gathered Monday in front of the Hays County Veterans Memorial to commemorate Hays County’s fallen. 

“Memorial day is a day of remembrance. A day to reflect upon the sacrifices of the men and women who have given their lives to protect our country and our freedoms,” said Michael Hernandez, U.S. Army veteran, Chair of the San Marcos Veterans Affairs Advisory Committee and assistant Hays County Veterans Officer. “It’s also a day to honor the sacrifices of the countless courageous wives, husbands, parents, children, all those left behind. It’s a day of patriotism and pride. A pride that we should instill in our future generations so they too will understand the price of freedom.” 

Above, said Michael Hernandez, U.S. Army veteran, Chair of the San Marcos Veterans Affairs Advisory Committee and assistant Hays County Veterans Officer, speaks to the crowd at Monday's Memorial Day ceremony. 

Miles Nelson, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who served during Operation Iraqi Freedom, was the guest speaker. Nelson spoke about his first tour in Iraq and how two members of his company would often exchange food. Cpl. Erik “Thumbs” Silva and a Marine named Anderson would exchange their bread and crackers. After Silva was killed in action on April 4, 2003, Nelson watched as Anderson memorialized his friend.  

“I could see Anderson sitting in the back hatch of the vehicle and he had his MRE and all the stuff that came in it just laid out around him. He was holding the pouch that the bread came in,” Nelson said. “I kind of stopped and watched for a minute. And, I watched as he opened the pouch, took out the bread and took a single bite and then he just tossed the rest into the darkness. It was about that time [Anderson] noticed I was standing there and he just looked up at me, kind of blinked very slowly and then went about his business as if nothing had happened. I had some idea, of course, of what he was doing but being kind of naive and not having learned all the painful lessons yet, I didn’t fully understand the reasoning, or his purpose. 

“Six years, two more combat deployments later, a whole lot of very close friends gone, I finally started to really understand what [Anderson] was doing. So, that single bit of just utterly  tasteless bread was a fitting semblance for the bitterness of losing a brother,” Nelson added. “As simple as that was and as silly as it seemed, it was a deeply personal memorial to a dear friend. That personal aspect of the memorial is what today is most about: By honoring and remembering those who gave everything they had to the service of this country and supporting the people they left behind.” 

Above, Miles Nelson, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and Monday's guest speaker, addresses the crowd at the Memorial Day ceremony. 

Nelson closed his remarks by issuing a challenge to all those in attendance to learn the stories of those lost to war. 

“If you want to do Memorial Day just a little bit different give this a shot,” Nelson said. “Pick a name. We have too many already but pick a name and then learn their story. Many stories you can find … How they lived and then tell that story to anyone who will listen. Present it for a  Memorial Day ceremony like this, or have it published in the local newspaper as a community column. Keep them in our living memory as long as possible. Maybe they too will enter that legendary status of people like King Leonidas, or Sir Arthur and His Knights of the Roundtable, and they’ll always be with us. On a day like today, I have a hard time imagining a better tribute to the people who gave absolutely everything for our country.” 

Monday’s Memorial Day ceremony included the placing of three memorial wreaths by Nathan Price, U.S. Army Combat Engineer veteran and Veteran Affairs Advisory Committee member; David Franklin, U.S. Navy veteran, AMVETS Post 104, and Veteran Affairs Advisory Committee member; and Jerry DeLeon, U.S. Navy veteran and American GI Forum - Commander. 

The ceremony concluded with the reading of the names of Hays County soldiers who died in action by Willaim Crosby, U.S. Marine Corps; Stephanie Brown, U.S. Army; Cody Stauffer, U.S. Navy; Clay Green, U.S. Navy; and Amanda Gomes Torres, U.S. Marine Corps. The Aquarena Springs Symphonic Band performed TAPS after the names were read. 

Those honored during Monday’s Memorial Day ceremony include: 

World War I

Clarence B. Allen
Jack Arnold 
Simon Gonzales
Tom F. Harwell
Murray E. Lawrence
Clinton Stevens Lindsey
Austin Rodgers Lowery
Willis Mayfield
Otto Moeller
Overton O. Perkins
Maurice Thomas Suttles 
Charles W. Walters 
Henry M. Whipple
George A. Zapalac 

World War II

Rodulfo A. Barrera
Casimiro M. Besinaiz
George R. Bible
James Thomas Brumley
Reyes Canales
Preston C. Clark
Claude Clark 
Luis G. Costilla
Rafael V. Cruz
James Henry Cummings
John Albert Decker
Thomas Elliott Falls Jr. 
Orman L. Fitzhugh
Arthur Edward Gary
David Gauna
Joe A. Gomez
Rexford G. Harber 
John W. Hargus
William E. Herzog
Thomas E. Key Jr. 
Marshall Arlson Langley
Ramon Lucio 
Saturnino L. Martinez
Jack Mathis
Johnny James McCarty
Deroy L. Miller
Juan P. Nevares
Charles Benjamin Nichols Jr. 
Charles Eugne Oldham Jr.
Walter L. Oliver
Willie W. Oliver
Raymond T. Pacheco
Jessie A. Palacio
Jose Ramirez
Logan Wilson Roberts 
Pedro C. Rocha 
Santiago G. Sanches
Leroy A. Schaefer
Harry W. Scheel
Clarence Alfred Schuetzeberg
Carroll E. Smith
Alfred T. Strachbein
Lewis Ross Summers
Robert Edwin Taylor 
Francis G. Truesdale
Oran Nelson Tuttle
Alvin Edward Vetter
Bobbie W. Wagner
Colvin L. Watson
Jesse Glenn Wimberley

Korean Conflict

Walter E. Allen
Darwin E. Herrin
Arthur Love Jr.
Daniel Sanchez
Sydney Philip Smith
Sydney William Weatherford


Henry Edward Barber Jr. 
Juan Esquivel Cortez
Michael R. Dorman
Edward Joseph Edmund 
Victor Flores Jr. 
Jesse Eulojio Garcia
Edward Ray Gaytan
Armando A. Gomez
Manuel Gonzales
Vincent Ramirez Gonzales
Mateo Juarez
Alfredo Lopez Jr. 
Richard Lopez
Kenneth E. McLendon
Baynes Ballew McSwain Jr.
Bobby Lee Roberts
Gerald Ray Roberts
Felix Rodriguez
Homer Doyle Spring
Thomas Nelson Stiles
Allen W. Thomas
Conrad Jack Wheeler

Desert Storm

Melford R. Collins

Operation Iraqi Freedom

Michael W. Davis
Jacob H. Neal
Kristian Menchaca

Operation Enduring Freedom

Captain Paul W. Pena
Joseph Fankhauser

San Marcos Record

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