- Associated Press - Monday, May 26, 2014

LAS VEGAS (AP) - Fallen veterans were honored across the state Monday as Nevada marked Memorial Day with special services, receptions and picnics.

Elected officials filled their schedules with solemn events at cemeteries and drew attention to the plight of wounded veterans and survivors in speeches.

“Our state has sacrificed dearly since the wars began, sending 24,994 abroad since 2001,” Rep. Steven Horsford, D-Las Vegas, said in a statement. “These are numbers. But on this Memorial Day, it (is) our imperative we put American faces to those numbers and try to understand just how great their sacrifices have been.”

The Palm Downtown Mortuary and Cemetery in Las Vegas organized its 49th Annual Memorial Day Service Monday in conjunction with the American Legion. The program included speeches by Mayor Carolyn Goodman and Rep. Dina Titus, D-Las Vegas, as well as an honor guard ceremony presented by the Nevada Wing of the Civil Air Patrol and a performance by a bugler.

Palm also scheduled ceremonies at two other southern Nevada locations, including one in Henderson featuring a speech from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada.

“These brave individuals are called upon to serve America in distant lands, apart from family and friends, and some make the ultimate sacrifice in order to protect and defend us,” Reid said in a statement before the speech. “These brave men and women deserve nothing but the best from their government.”

Gov. Brian Sandoval attended a memorial ceremony in Boulder City, while Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nevada, attended one in Fernley. Heller also attended a pancake breakfast in Reno for Honor Flight Nevada, an organization that provides transportation so veterans can visit national memorials in their honor.

Other holiday events in northern Nevada included Memorial Day ceremonies at the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony, a ceremony and picnic at the Salvation Army in Reno, and a special holiday Mass at the Most Holy Redeemer Mausoleum Chapel in Reno.

Nevada veterans have been in the spotlight since earlier this weekend, when Findlay Chevrolet in Las Vegas surprised two wounded warriors with new cars.

Rep. Joe Heck, R-Henderson, was on hand Saturday to honor Marine Sgt. Dylan Gray, a double amputee who assists veterans through an organization called Green Zone Network, and Army Sgt. Charles Copeland, who was badly injured in a suicide bomber attack in Iraq.

Copeland was surprised with a 2013 Chevrolet Silverado to replace a truck he had to sell to buy a more practical car for his family, and Gray - who thought he was at the dealership just for Copeland - was surprised with a 2014 Chevrolet Cruze sedan.

“We have the utmost respect for the military community here,” said Findlay Sales Director Melisa Eichbauer. “We were just wanting to say thank you and give back and show that we appreciate them.”

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