Walking through Linn Grove Cemetery, U.S. Army Veteran Matthew Turner reflected on the friends he'd lost during his time in the military. Those sacrifices made sure he and so many others have opportunity, he said.
“We have the opportunity to do whatever we want here, to be whoever we want to be,” Turner explained. “Memorial Day for me is about the sacrifice it took to make opportunity for me and opportunity for everyone.”
Turner will deliver the keynote address at Linn Grove Cemetery’s 2022 Memorial Day Ceremony. A couple weeks before the event itself he visited the cemetery and shared his thoughts on the important day.
The families and friends of those who sacrificed everything serving their country have many days that bring painful memories. Anniversaries, graduations, landmark days, and events can all bring back memories for parents, wives, husbands, and children. On Memorial Day the whole community can join and remember those lost ones together, Turner said.
“It’s a day that everyone gets to give thanks for the sacrifices people made.”
Originally starting as Decoration Day in the late 1800s, people would leave flowers or flags on the graves of fallen soldiers. For more than 140 years, Greeley’s Linn Grove Cemetery marked the day—first Decoration and now Memorial—with a formal ceremony.
In 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, formally establishing Memorial Day. By 1971, the federal day of recognition went into full effect.
In Greeley, the tradition of reverence and remembrance continues to this day. Greeley’s 2022 ceremony starts at 9 a.m., May 30, at Linn Grove Cemetery, 1700 Cedar Ave.
Now Turner is a Captain at the Weld County Sheriff’s Office. He’s grateful for his time in the military—even with the friends he lost and the close calls he had himself—it gave him the opportunity to be the person he is today. That’s all in his head when he’s preparing his Memorial Day address.
“The people in the cemetery that we’re going to remember, the people who sacrificed everything, they invested in us... how are we using that investment, are we making the best of that opportunity,” Turner asked. “Opportunity comes at a cost. It’s not about freedom... it’s about the opportunity to be whatever we want. We get to choose that.”