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Purple Heart Day ceremony set for Friday in Pahrump

In the days of COVID-19, everything seems to operate differently, with new rules and protocols changing the face of all sorts of gatherings and this year’s Purple Heart Day ceremony in Pahrump will be no exception.

The valley’s very first Purple Heart Day Sundown Ceremony took place in 2017, the same year that both the town of Pahrump and Nye County were formally recognized as Purple Heart entities, and the military event has become quite popular over the past three years. Regularly drawing a large crowd of attendees, the Purple Heart Day must be scaled back for 2020 as the sponsoring organization, the Disabled American Veterans Chapter #15, strives to adhere to the emergency directives issues by Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak.

“According to the governor’s directives, we are limited to the first 50 attendees and must enforce that limit,” DAV member and Purple Heart Day Sundown Ceremony Master of Ceremonies Dr. Tom Waters explained. “We’ll proceed cautiously and follow all CDC and State of Nevada guidance during the COVID-19 pandemic. Face coverings and social distancing is required and must be enforced.”

Purple Heart Day is a nationally recognized observance meant to provide the opportunity for Americans to take a moment and remember the brave men and women who have either been injured in the course of their service to the country or who sadly, have made the ultimate sacrifice to help protect America. Those who have been wounded or lost their lives while in service in the U.S. Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard will be honored for their willingness to step forward and shoulder the immense and often dangerous responsibility of military duty.

DAV Chapter #15 Commander Terry Janke will open the Purple Heart Day Sundown Ceremony with a welcome for the audience before Waters takes over for introductions. An opening prayer from Chaplain Doug Garlin will be followed by the presentation of the colors by the Marine Corps League Detachment #1199 Honor Guard and the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance.

Nye County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Greg Curtain will lend his voice to the event with renditions of patriotic songs and for the second year, the Nevada Silver Tappers, garbed in their iconic red, white and blue outfits, will join in the ceremony with a dance routine. The Purple Heart Day ceremony will also include the many traditional aspects of a military observance, including the Prisoner of War/Missing in Action ceremony, ID/Dog Tag ceremony and Wreath ceremony, as well as a volley salute and “Taps”. Nye County Commission Chairman John Koenig will be guest speaker and Nevada Assemblyman Greg Hafen II has been selected as the keynote speaker for the evening.

The Purple Heart Day Sundown Ceremony is set to begin at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 7 at the Chief Tecopa Cemetery Veterans’ Memorial, 751 East Street.

Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at rhebrock@pvtimes.com

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