Memorial Day memories at Dillon Cemetery from Summit County legend Boot Gordon 

It was standing room only for Memorial Day at Dillon Cemetery, where Sgt. Craig Johnson with Dillon Police Department read the names of veterans interred at Dillon Cemetery, some dating back to the Civil War. 

Seated in the front row, where he always is, was a local legend, Boot Gordon. He’s a veteran of World War II and Korea – and now 100 years old. 

“They say the second hundred is a little more difficult than the first one,” Gordon joked during his impromptu speech. He shared the story of a man who joined the Coast Guard and piloted troop carriers at Normandy. 

“Apparently this one boy had written his mother a letter just before he had gone there, to Normandy beach,” Gordon remembered. “He said that I’m not afraid of dying, but I just hope people who realize the beauty of life itself.” 

In the row behind Boot was John Taylor, drafted into the Army between the Korean War and Vietnam. 

“(When I) think of those that aren’t with us that gave to our country to make with what it is today, it really sticks with me,” Taylor said. “I think we’ve got some challenges ahead, and hopefully we all back up and support it.” 

Summit Concert Band provided the soundtrack as Boy Scouts with Troop 188 presented the colors and retired a flag.  

Local veteran Rob Mitchell explains what this day means to him. 

“The family, the youngsters that lost loved ones, their war will continue forever,” Mitchell said. “And so we lift them up and we honor them on Memorial Day.” 

For a decade now, local Air Force veteran Bob Pietrzyk has read the “table honors,” while presiding over a white table with six empty chairs – one for each branch of the military. 

“The Air Force has a similar tradition,” Pietrzyk said. “It’s called the ‘Missing Man Ceremony,’ or the ‘Missing Man Flight,’ and you’ll see a flight come over and they’ll be a missing one plane, one obviously missing, and that’s for the fallen heroes.” 

Pietrzyk, like his friend Mitchell, asked the crowd to remember veterans, POWs and those missing in action, and especially their families here at home.