Historic Virginia City, Nevada, was alive with patriotism as residents and visitors celebrated the beginning of the Memorial Day weekend with a parade honoring our American heroes.
The 45-minute Celebration of Heroes Parade down C Street, the main thoroughfare, began with the presenting of the flag and singing of our country’s national anthem. Soldier, one of our four-legged veterans was the inaugural parade prancer. He suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as it is believed he saw his partner killed in action.
Parade participants included Veterans of Foreign War, 601 Vigilante Committee, POW – MIA group, Devils’ Gate Gun Fighters, Daughters of the American Revolution, Comstock Classic Cars, Civil War Re-enactors, Virginia City Turf Club, and the Storey County Sheriff’s Department.
After the parade, there was a civil war re-enactment in the local park. Several bars hosted live music, including David John and the Comstock Cowboys at the famed Bucket of Blood Saloon. There was also a wine walk on Saturday for those interested in walking the wooden sidewalks and checking out the local merchants.
Parade participants dressed in period clothing flooded the streets, talking and taking pictures with visitors to Virginia City. Mark Pavelek who works with a group resenting the Military Division of the Pacific during the 1860-1870 time period says he participates because, “We spend our time and money trying to add a little flavor to our favorite town – Virginia City. We are volunteers and we purchase everything ourselves to correctly portray the times. Everyday, I have someone come up to me and say that they saw me a year or two ago and always look forward to seeing the Living Legends of Virginia City on their next visit. That’s the kind of thing that keeps Brigadier General Gray Rivers (Pavelek’s character name) coming back every weekend now for the last 11 years.”
From Memorial Day through Labor Day, Virginia City is adorned with flags honoring our American heroes. The idea was the brainchild of Brenda Bolander.
Bolander lost her son, SSG. Bryan E Bolander, on April 29, 2008, in active duty; SSG. Bolander was in the Army.
When Bolander wanted to honor her fallen son with a flag, she went to a group in a nearby town only to be told they could not help since her son was no longer in active status. Bolander decided she wanted to do something anyway, so she created the triangle shaped flags so any hero could be honored – fallen, active, or veteran.
The flags are displayed from Memorial Day through Labor Day (winters can be harsh in Virginia City), when they are taken down the buyer has the option to keep the flag or donate it to the town for display the following year. Bolander, along with her husband, Greg, put the flags up each year and store any donated flags.
Flags can be ordered directly from the Bolanders at firstname.lastname@example.org or by going to Grandma’s Fudge Factory on C Street. The cost is $55.00; donations are accepted for those who have an American hero in their life but cannot afford to purchase a flag.
The Memorial Day weekend includes other events such as V&T Railfest (a kickoff to the season for the railroad), Made in Nevada Craft Fair, and the 150th anniversary of Nevada’s First Calvary Unit.
Honoring our men and women who have served our nation and continue to serve, the parade was a red, white, and blue tribute of how much this historic town loves America.
Virginia City will host another parade on July 4 followed by a Fireworks Spectacular.
By Dawn Cranfield
Senior Correspondent / Product Specialist