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Memorial Day: A Soldier’s Story

Memorial Day at the Mountain View Cemetery in Reno. Photo courtesy of Mountain View Cemetery.
Memorial Day at the Mountain View Cemetery in Reno. Photo courtesy of Mountain View Cemetery.

Each Memorial Day, millions of American flags are placed at the graves of our soldiers who gave the ultimate sacrifice. This year, Reno Moms Blog would like to share a soldier’s story and details on where you and your family can commemorate those we have lost in combat.

Jenny Durnan Petty’s story

PFC Robert "Bobby" Durnan
PFC Robert “Bobby” Durnan, 24th Marines, 4th Marine Division, U.S. Marine Corps

My grandfather and his brother, Bobby, both served in World War II. Military service was a pretty regular part of my family history until my generation. I even had a relative who was a drummer during the Civil War.

The brothers joined the service when they were young, I think my grandpa was 17 when he joined.  Bobby and my grandfather were incredibly close. However, when they both were shipped overseas they were sent to different areas.

Private First Class Robert Durnan served with the 24th Marines, 4th Marine Division, U.S. Marine Corps. He was killed at Iwo Jima and received the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart. He was 18. It was devastating to my family.

western-union-bobby I can’t imagine the heartache that must have caused my great-grandparents and his eight brothers and sisters when they received the telegram. Bobby’s remains are now at Pearl Harbor and to this day my family talks about bringing him home. 

Northern Nevada Memorial Day Services and Memorials

143rd Annual Memorial Day Veteran’s Ceremony at Mountain View Cemetery in Reno – Meet at the flagpole for the one-hour Memorial Day ceremony beginning at 11 a.m. Guests from U.S. Air Force, U.S. Marine Corp, U.S. Navy, Nevada State Guard and the Silver Dollar Chorus will be present at one of the largest Memorial Day events in Reno.

Lone Mountain Cemetery in Carson City – Carson City will be celebrating Memorial Day at the historical Lone Mountain Cemetery. Meet at 1 p.m. in the veterans’ section at 1044 Beverly Drive in Carson City for the day’s service.

The KIA Memorial at the Northern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery. Photo courtesy of the NNVMC.
The KIA Memorial at the Northern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery. Photo courtesy of the NNVMC.

Northern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Fernley –  This National veterans’  cemetery is the final resting place for more than 10,000 service men and women. To find out about Memorial Day services here,  call (775) 575-4441.

There also are several memorials in local city parks. If you are down by the River this weekend, take a few moments to visit Powning Veterans Memorial Park at 150 S. Virginia Street. The park features a statue of Civil War hero General Jesse Reno and a memorial for those service people we lost in Afghanistan, Iraq and Kuwait. In Sparks, visit the Sparks Memorial Park at Pyramid Way and C Street, which features memorials honoring those lost in Korea, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Please feel free to share stories, photos or names of those friends or family from the Armed Services you have lost and other Memorial Day events in their honor in the comments.

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About Shelle Murach

Shelle Murach
Shelle Murach has been an Aunt since 1985. She specializes in saying things like, “Should that child be doing that to her brother?” “Where did that juice box go?” "Can Aunt Shelle have some of your Cheez-its?” She is an expert at attending dance recitals, soccer games and ice skating competitions all while clapping or cheering at the appropriate moments.While she is very good at passing out cake at birthday parties, due to an unfortunate incident with a stick, her husband has made her promise to never again help with piñatas. Something about lawsuits and personal injury nonsense. She precariously balances being a full-time Aunt with a career in PR and has found that many of her client management skills can also be used on her various nieces and nephews. She is very excited to be part of Reno Mom’s Blog where she will focus on the Reno food and events scene, booster seats and face paint are optional. You can check out her blog at Care & Feeding in Reno, where she desperately needs to post some new stories and recipes. Trust me, she knows, it is on the list.

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