The inaugural Western New Mexico University Remembrance March held on Saturday drew dozens to walk in honor of service members past and present. Held Saturday, this event allowed participants to commemorate the 1942 Bataan Death March.
While 72 participants had pre-registered, even more who attended registered on site. More than a dozen marchers took on the 14-mile out-and-back route, while the remaining participants completed the one-mile Honor March. Each route began and ended on the WNMU campus.
At least 20 marchers were veterans themselves marching in the Military category, and a couple registered in the Military Heavy category, committing to carry 35-pound packs for the duration of their journey. Some in the Civilian category carried photos of their loved ones who served in the U.S. armed forces, and others opted to write the name of a loved one they wanted to march in honor of on their participant number. Alternatively, civilians could choose to march in honor of service members buried at Ft. Bayard National Cemetery, as WNMU provided names of those laid to rest locally.
On the steps of the WNMU Fine Arts Center Theatre, a ceremony took place just ahead of each march’s start. Each was led by Master of Ceremonies Tony Trujillo and featured addresses from Lt. Governor Howie Morales, Senator Siah Correa Hemphill, and Representative Rebecca Dow. Members of the local Marine Corps League presented the colors at each as well.
During the 7:30 a.m. ceremony for the longer march, WNMU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Jack Crocker welcomed participants to campus, while Angelica Padilla sang the national anthem. The later ceremony for the Honor March was opened with a national anthem by Mariachi Plata de WNMU and a welcome from WNMU President Dr. Joe Shepard.
Water was offered at health stations staffed by local EMTs and WNMU School of Nursing representatives along both routes, which finished in the WNMU Ben Altamirano Stadium.