Mora County Notebook: Schools celebrate Dia de la Cultura

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By Ruth Fort

Earlier this month, the Mora Independent Schools celebrated Dia de la Cultura with a wonderful program presented by the kindergarten through the middle school classes.
There was a large crowd filling the bleachers in the gym. Chairs were set up on both sides of the floor to accommodate all of the audience. The gym was tastefully decorated with the Hispanic theme.

Behind the performers were black curtains to make a “back stage.” On the curtains were hung sarapes, sombreros, guitars and other mementos of the Hispanic culture.

Around the gym walls hung more sarapes and paper sombreros that had been made and decorated in fancy designs by the young people. An interesting decoration was a structure made of boxes arranged to represent a place like Taos Pueblo. One felt the happy festive air as they entered the gym.

The program  started at 8:30 a.m. and entertained the crowded until around noon.

The crowd enjoyed the songs, dances and plays by the different grade levels. They sang familiar songs such as: De Colores, Cielito Lindo and La Bamba. La Marcha de Los Novios was done twice with the band playing the music for them. There was a piano duet and the mariachis appeared two times. The community thanks the teachers, students and the other staff for their work to make a very enjoyable day.  

Honoring our veterans
Memorial Day is a special day to honor those who have given their all for our freedom.

To many it is merely a day of a long weekend to camp, fish, travel or just chill out. But it was meant to be a solemn day of remembrance of those who lost their lives in the wars dating back to the Revolutionary War when men fought to defend our freedom.

This is a special time for parades and services in the communities across the United States and in some of the countries where our servicemen and women are buried.

At Arlington Cemetery, flags are inserted on each of the 260,000 graves. The custom was started in the late ‘50s, when 1,200 men of the Third United States Infantry put flags on each grave and stood guard. In some places Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts help put out the flags on fallen soldiers’ graves. It is the custom of the United States president or vice president to lay a wreath at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

In the small places like Mora it is hard to carry out this custom as the many soldiers buried in our cemeteries are not known, including men from Fort Union. However, in the past there has been a memorial mass, a VFW member put flags on the graves and there were special services to honor our heroes who gave their lives.

In 1865, General John Logan declared May 30 as a Memorial Day or Decoration Day, as it used to be called. It was started in the South when widows of the soldiers of the Civil War began putting flowers on their graves and celebårated a day of remembrance.  They followed the song that said, ”Kneel where your love lies sleeping.”

Waterloo, N.Y., is said to be the first northern area to follow in 1873.Thereafter it is said the rest of the north followed in 1890. It is hard to tell who really started it, as there were many separate beginnings as people were honoring their dead veterans before it was an official day. About two dozen cities claim to have started it. The south did not follow the north in observing their day at first but kept their own day until after WWI.

May 30 was established as Memorial or Decoration Day. But in 1971 congress declared Memorial Day as a national holiday and declared that it should be observed on the last Monday in May so that the workers could have a long holiday weekend. Since then, some say that the real meaning of the solemn day of remembrance has deteriorated,  although many places still have their observance with parades and decorating the soldiers’ graves.

This is also a special time for families to remember their loved ones and decorate their graves as well.

One thing that can show remembrance and respect is to wear the “Buddy Poppy,” which is a red poppy made by disabled veterans  The VFW Ladies Auxiliary were the first group to sell them to make money for the widows and orphans of the veterans and the veterans in need. The American Legion Auxiliary soon followed. The Mora Post 1131 VFW Ladies Auxiliary have some to give for a donation to help veterans in need.

Ruth Fort is a Mora County correspondent. She may be reached at (575) 387-6523 or ruthfortchacon@yahoo.com.