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Speaker glad for military advances

Daniel Zablotsky believes in thanking veterans of American armed forces, but not just on the holidays.

Zablotsky, the speaker at Amerian Legion Post No. 31’s annual Memorial Day service, used his time to thank veterans who helped pave the way for the medical and technological breakthroughs that wouldn’t have been possible without the military.

Zablotsky, a First Lt., is the medical resource officer for Cannon Air Force Base. He was part of a ceremony that spanned nearly 30 minutes at the Portales Cemetery Monday morning. Zablotsky said that military work has helped create water purification practices, ways to make air travel safer and better construction for bridges and other structures.

“The services of these war heroes truly goes beyond the military,” Zablotsky said. “In fact, they permeate the lives of the people here and all over the world.”

Zablotsky’s presentation was one of 13 separate activities on the slate for Monday, including a performance of the national anthem by Donald Paschke and a welcome from American Legion Post Commander Joe Blair.

“Memorial Day,” Blair said, “is a day of remembrance. We are here to honor our fallen comrades, those who have paid the ultimate prices and those who have passed on.”

The event also included a tribute to Gold Star Mothers, a Memorial Day poetry reading by Donald Criss and a playing of Taps by Sr. Airman Israel Benitos of the CAFB Honor Guard.

According to a handout given at the event, Memorial Day’s roots come from 1863, when a group in Columbus, Miss. laid flowers upon graves of soldiers during the Civil War. Five years later, Memorial Day was officially proclaimed.