For the 55th consecutive year, surviving veterans of Colorado’s 10th Mountain Division will gather on Memorial Day, Monday, May 26, at their World War II Memorial Monument to honor their fallen comrades and the men of the current 10th Mountain Division who have been lost in combat.
The monument is located at the summit of Tennessee Pass on U.S. Highway 24 between Leadville and Minturn.
The guest of honor and principal speaker will be Lt. General Benjamin Freakley, retired, former commanding general of the 10th Mountain Division. Freakley is currently a professor and special policy advisor at Arizona State University.
The 10th Mountain Division was created in Colorado in 1943 and soldiers trained at Camp Hale near Leadville. It was the only unit in the history of the United States Army to be organized specifically for mountain and winter warfare, according to a 10th Mountain Division news release.
The highly regarded 10th played a major role in the battles that brought about the surrender in 1945 of the German Army in Italy, the release stated. After the war, many of the Division’s veterans went on to create ski resorts across America, including, among others, Vail, Aspen, and Arapahoe Basin, Whiteface Mountain in New York State and Ski Santa Fe and Sandia Peak Ski areas in New Mexico.
The public is invited to join the men of the 10th and their relatives for the event. Due to limited seating, members of the public are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs.
The ceremony will begin promptly at 11 a.m. The Lake County High School Band will provide music for the occasion.