With 21 rifle shots and a bugle’s wail, the El Campo American Legion Post 251 members offered a salute to the nation’s war dead Thursday.

A very abbreviated version of their traditional observance, the event was held early to ensure a salute could be offered, Legion Commander Daniel Falcon said.

“It’s very disappointing. We always have one (an observance on Memorial Day). It’s traditional. We have a meal for the veterans and their families and a program,” he said.

The average age of the post’s members, however, is 75 and officers felt it inappropriate to risk their health with a large gathering.

The American Legion Post 251 Memorial Day observance will be broadcast on KULP 106.7 FM or 1390 AM at noon Monday, Memorial Day, May 25.

Falcon had a request.

“Listen to the message on Monday and then pray for our nation and that God will be merciful. Remember veterans and those who suffer,” he said.

The names of 24 West Wharton County veterans who have died since Memorial Day 2019 were read by Legion Chaplain Rick Marik.

There are Leroy Shelton, Robert Lee Robinson, Paul Kopecky, Andrew Rod, Willard Cuhal, Jessie Delgado, P.J. Herrmann, Aaron Anderson, Leroy Mican and Margaret Montello.

Also Frank Sablatura, Chuck Stinson, J.V. Korenek, Eddie Poncik, Donald McDonald, Francis Stock and J.E. Clayton.

Donald Wigginton, Leo Noska, John Maxwell, Ben Berkovsky, Warren “Butch” Witcher, Joe Tom Davis and Jarrel Nohavitza completed the list.

“Our commemorative events this year may differ from the past due to the end for health precautions ...  (but) let us appreciate our freedom, reflect on our history and remember those who gallantly fought and died for each one us,” Marik said.

Veterans serving on the Legion Honor Guard were riflemen Mario Cruz, Leslie Bacak, Stanley Sellers, Daniel Hrncir, Larry Kainer, Jesse Perez and Stanley Voldan. Charlie Merta served as the bugler.

A National Moment of Remembrance will be held at 3 p.m. Monday. During it, people are asked to reflect on the sacrifices of those who gave their lives for the nation.

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