The Memorial Day Event at the Clovis Veterans Memorial District in downtown Clovis hosted a couple hundred people as festivities went on into Monday afternoon. In combining both the staff and the spectators to the event, it seemed everyone there understood the significance of the day.
Speaking with Kevin Peters, a part of the operations team at the Memorial District, he stated that his team understands that this was one of the more important days for the Memorial District. To his team and the rest of those who serve the Memorial District, Peters recognized the significance of Memorial Day as a day to honor the memory of those who “put on the uniform but were never able to make it home”.
Memorial Day is a day of remembrance of those who have fallen reminds Lorenzo Rios, CEO of the Clovis Veterans Memorial District.
Rios spoke about the importance of the organizations that were in attendance to the Memorial Day event.
“Look at the organizations that are here. You’ve got Boy Scouts, you’ve got Girl Scouts, you have veterans organizations, you’ve got service club organizations. That’s not by accident.”
He went on to explain that these groups were at the Memorial District deliberately to “bring Americans together” and to make the community a “better place”. This also comes at the mention of COVID-19 which he called an event that “divided our country, and instilled fear and suspect of the other.”
In pushing politics aside, Rios said the only agenda the Memorial District has is assisting in making the community of Clovis the “greatest community to live in” and by letting the veterans in the community understand that their sacrifice matters, and “making sure everybody understands how blessed we are to live in this great nation.”
The Clovis Veterans Memorial District was established in 1946, a move that Rios calls “a will of the people”. On this Memorial Day, Rios stated that the Memorial District stands as a “permanent living memorial”, that seventy-six years later stands at the center of a number of community activities including this Memorial Day Event. Bringing the people to interact with each other is something that Rios calls “something novel” of the community of Clovis.
“This day is about remembering the fallen…Those who pay the ultimate price in defending our freedoms would be, I would offer, happy to see that their sacrifice made a difference. That we can celebrate.” said Rios.
He represented the fact that the community as well as the nation is allowed to celebrate is something that he hopes those who have passed would have been able to realize. “While you see the celebration, you don’t forget what today is about.”
“Some people will tell you, the order is Armed Forces Day are those in uniform, Veterans Day are those who had the opportunity to take off the uniform, and Memorial Day is for those who never had the opportunity to take off that uniform because they laid it down while in uniform.”
Rios explained this distinction between the three days of observance, something that one writer had learned within the two days of covering Memorial Day events.
In speaking about the community’s support that the Memorial District has received, Rios also mentioned that the community has been fully supportive, “very generous” and has “never forgotten the district”. He replied that the Memorial District has made it a point to honor the community of Clovis and each hold a symbiotic relationship where “you can’t have one without the other.”
“When you walk in [into the Memorial District’s vicinity], there’s this very warm, welcoming experience. And that’s to everyone, which I would offer, is part of the Clovis way….There’s this sense of welcoming, and appreciation for the other, and that’s what you’re seeing here. A number of organizations were in attendance at the Memorial Day Event. Many of their missions were similar in that they were supporting veterans and the Memorial District. This includes the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association who’s mission includes “supporting veteran organizations through financial and physical support”.
The motorcycle organization is organized by those who love to ride, yes, but also through their efforts they support veterans through opportunities like CalVet homes where affordable long-term care to aged and disabled veterans is possible.
Inside the Memorial District was both the Concert by the Clovis Community Band as well as the Memorial Day Luncheon that took place from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. All free to the public, the Memorial District gave a celebration like no other and is happy to do it in remembrance of those who gave even more for the nation.