A day of remembrance: American Legion hosts event to honor fallen soldiers

A flag flies at Sunset Memorial Gardens Cemetery Monday, May 30, 2022. (Michael Bauer|Odessa American)

Preston Parrott wants West Texans to remember the reason Americans celebrate Memorial Day.

More than just a focus on barbecues and sales, Parrott, of the American Legion Post 430 and retired U.S. Military, said with the commercials on the radio and television, it can be easy to forget why the last Monday of May is a federal holiday.

“This is for the veterans who have given the ultimate sacrifice,” Parrott said. “Veterans Day … is for the living veterans.”

To honor the veterans in West Texas, the American Legion will host their annual Memorial Day event at 6:30 p.m. May 27, at the Ector County Cemetery, 300 S. Dixie Blvd. Memorial Day honors those who have died while serving in the military since the Revolutionary War.

With a scheduled wreath laying and guest speakers, the event is free and open to the public.

Parrott said past events have seen a good turnout and he expects to see a similar amount of people from Odessa in attendance.

“It’s amazing how many people will come out,” he said. “It’s always been a big deal.”

The American Legion will not be the only event during Memorial Day.

The annual Ride to Remember is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m., at the Permian Basin Vietnam Memorial, 9900 Wright Dr., Midland. From there, bikers will ride into Odessa and go up Loop 338 to East 52nd Street, up North Grandview Avenue, and turn on East Yukon Road before turning north on State Highway 385 and completing their trip in Andrews.

A barbecue lunch and memorial service is scheduled in Andrews at the end of the ride.

Rick Mitchell, commander for VFW Post 4372, who will also participate in the American Legion’s Memorial Day event, said he also hopes to see the public at the event.

“This holiday is about memorializing our veterans who have given the ultimate sacrifice to our country,” he said.

If you go

  • What: American Legion Memorial Day event.
  • When: 6:30 p.m. May 27.
  • Where: Ector County Cemetery, 300 S. Dixie Blvd.
  • Cost: Free