This Memorial Day, We Remember the Fallen


On a cool cloudy Memorial Day in Hamilton County, the reverence for the fallen was crystal clear. 

The morning began with Rotarians quietly raising flags at many area homes and businesses.  If you drove 14 miles to the west on the two lane highway 50 and a mile north on Main Street (a dirt road), you would see the tiny town of Coolidge, Kansas, honoring their fallen in a small intimate ceremony at the cemetery. 

It was 8:48 am when my Yukon had to choose between rutting up Main Street north of Coolidge or turning back. I chose to rut up the muddy road to honor the fallen. 

Kurtis Klinghammer, the pastor from Holly Christian church, traveled to Hartman, then Coolidge and then to Holly. Klinghammer is a Veteran US Army Medic, “Well, technically, Medical Coreman, but NO one hurt in a filed ever yelled out we need a medical coreman here.”

He began his speech, “They stepped forward. They said this is my country. Remember the men and women lying here that stood and how valuable our freedoms are. Thank God.”

The small crowd sang America the Beautiful and God Bless America. Then the Holly and Lamar VFW performed the 21 Gun salute and played TAPS.

As you go forth this summer bouncing over the ruts in the road with your heavy equipment wanting to cuss the fools who rutted the road, may you remember those that died for our freedoms. That’s the story I’m going with. 

I hurried back to the Syracuse Cemetery to witness the Color Guard and the Hamilton County Veterans begin the more formal tradition of reading of the names of the Hamilton County soldiers who fought and died. We were honored to have Major (retired) Chris Englert Sukach share her words with the crowd. She mentioned she borrowed some of her speech from Secretary of Defense Dr. Mark T. Esper's Battle of the Bulge 75th Anniversary speech.

"I will keep my remarks brief as we have almost 500 people to recognize in today’s ceremony. It’s a large number that speaks to this community and its culture of service, not just to our country, but to each other in general. And it’s a culture that I’m proud to have had the opportunity to grow up in.

Today, we gather to honor these service members and all Americans who have gone before us to fight for and protect the rights and liberties we enjoy today. It is because of their sacrifices, some who laid down their lives during some of the most challenging times the world has ever seen, that we are able to live in the freedom and prosperity we enjoy today.

And while some of the service members we recognize today may not have served in combat, they trained and prepared for it just the same. They ensured that the freedoms earned by those who had gone before them were upheld and that the people of this nation had the opportunity to continue to live in relative peace.

But for those who did endure combat…every battle contains multiple stories shared by those who lived the experience. And even though the stories are as varied as the service members who tell them, there are common themes. Oftentimes, they are the themes of people from different backgrounds and talents working together, balancing each other’s strengths and weaknesses to overcome adversity." 

After Sukach and Captain Kai Englert read the names was the tradition of the 21 gun salute and a recording of TAPS was played. The crowd headed to the Veteran’s Memorial Building where Melanie Eddy began the Quilts of Valor presentation to nine men. 

Oliver Palmer served in Vietnam with the Criminal Investigation Unit. When he returned home in 1968 most of the country did not welcome the soldiers back with warmth and praise. They were despised. But in Syracuse he was well received. He has not missed a Memorial Day ceremony in Syracuse in 62 years!

Thomas Englert trained as a Combat Medic. Tom worked in the surgery unit and received a good conduct medal and a medal for being an Expert Rifleman.

Saudford “Sonny” Blyn served in the Air Force for eight years beginning in 1961. He served as an aircraft maintenance tech in Bitburg Germany, McConnell Air Force base, Takhli, Korot and Udorn bases in Thailand. 

Van Vesper entered the US Army in 1970. He served two campaigns in Vietnam with the 101st assault helicopter unit, aka the Black Widows unit. Van proudly served in the National Guard in Lamar as a mechanic with a medic unit. 

Douglas Westeman began is service to our country in January of 1959. He trained at Fort Benning Georgia to shoot A4.2 mortar. He served 18 months in Bamburg, Germany. Doug received a Good Conduct medal. He was released from the Army at Fort Hamilton, New York.

Alan Hess enlisted in the US Army in 1966. He was stationed in Japan for two years and served in the Army Security Agency as a Morse code intercept operator from 1967-1969. He served in the Quang Tri Provence Firebase Charlie on the DMZ. Alan said they were so happy to have the morse code intercept operators assigned to the base, they were allowed to use the officers latrine that had hot water. Alan was released from the service in 1969.

Glenn Hess served in the US Army from 1969-1971. He served in South Korea as a legal clerk. Genn was the company clerk, so no one saw the sergeant without talking to Glenn first.

Ronald Davis served in the US Navy. His duty began in 1956 after graduating from KU. Ron served four years active duty and four years reserve. Ron was a Navy hardhat diver and aqualung diver as part of the harbor defense unit. Ron served aboard the USS Salisbury Sound. He was also a submarine operations officer. 

Keith Gould entered the US Navy in 1954. He was an aircraft mechanic for seaplanes and spent a year and a half on the USS Salisbury Sound (same ship as Davis) in and around Japan. His first parachute jump was tough. They had to push him out. But after that it got easier. Keith finished his duty as a third class petty officer in 1958.

As we remember the fallen and have the opportunity to honor those who served and saw great loss, it is clear Hamilton County is proud of their service to the United States of America.



The KPRA Rodeo Is Back

The Kansas Professional Rodeo Association (KPRA) rodeo has made it’s return to Syracuse after being absent for nearly ten years. The rodeo, sponsored by the Syracuse Saddle Club, was held at the Hamilton County Fairgrounds June 4th and 5th. A hot Friday afternoon cooled... [More]

KDHE amends travel quarantine list

All of Colorado has been removed from the travel quarantine list! TOPEKA – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) has amended its travel quarantine list to include the countries of Chile, Colombia, Paraguay, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago. Several states... [More]


Where are they now? Retired USMC Sgt. Ralph Shorter

“We don’t talk much about what we saw in Vietnam because it was so terrible.  Then, when we returned to the United States, Americans didn’t want us back either.  They threw urine and feces on us, called us baby killers.  We might as well have... [More]

KDHE amends travel quarantine list

KDHE amends travel quarantine list TOPEKA – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) has amended its travel quarantine list to include Maine, 12 counties in Colorado and the countries of Costa Rica, French Guiana, Georgia, Lithuania and the Netherlands.... [More]


Fatal Wreck in Hamilton County

  A fatal wreck occured at 1:10 AM on Thursday, May 20, 2021 on K27 South of Syracuse on Milemarker 73 - one mile south of U50 on 27.   A Ford F-150 pickup driven by Donovan Seeber, 25, from Syracuse, Kansas, was northbound on K27 and went left of center and collided... [More]

Boil Water Advisory Rescinded for the City of Syracuse

 For Immediate Release May 20, 2021 Boil Water Advisory Rescinded for the City of Syracuse, Hamilton County TOPEKA – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) has rescinded a boil water advisory for the City of Syracuse water supply system, located... [More]



It’s National EMS week. Emergency Medical Services are essential in our county. and we are grateful!  “We see people at some of the darkest or hardest times in their life and even though some don’t go the way we would like, others do and it is rewarding,... [More]



An inch of rain anywhere else in the country may not seem like a lead story, but here in Hamilton County where just last week a dust storm with almost 70 mph winds brought a wall of dirt several feet or tens of feet high, rain matters, even in small amounts. And how it falls... [More]

More News


What's the lesson?

While rushing to get from here to there, my daughter and I ran out of the house, late again! I yelled for her to hurry up and she was so frazzled that as she put the large orange juice jug back in the refrigerator, she left the lid off and put the bottle back on the shelf laying... [More]

Playing Your Cards Right

You know that old saying “If you play your cards right?” Every day I play three games of three card solitaire. They say it helps with strengthening your mind. The sequence matters. If I play the first red eight I see and the cards I need are behind the second... [More]

Emotionally Paralyzed

Have you ever felt emotionally paralyzed and not sure how to go forward? Panic inside? Fear of the future or fear of being stuck? The world we live in today has lots of opportunities to think what’s the point? So much is out of our control. So much is scary or heading... [More]


Do you remember the Dr. Seuss story The Sneetches? Two groups of sneetches were identical except one group had stars on their bellies. The other did not and therefore were treated poorly. Those without stars allowed someone else’s view of them to dictate their self worth.... [More]

How Do You Influence Others?

Stephen King wrote, “We never know which lives we influence, or when, or why.” Who are you influencing? Good or bad, someone is touched by your life.  There are people I intentionally try to influence, like my daughter or her friends.  And if I have... [More]

Falling Out Of A Tree

My daughter was climbing a tree and fell. She got a big scrape and it hurt. She cried. We cleaned it up with soap and water and went back in the house to relax a little. I tried to comfort her and then pushed her to move forward because focusing on her wound won’t help... [More]

Good Enough

In the movie Big Hero 6, the main character Hiro is coasting and not achieving his potential. Feeling sorry for himself for having lost his parents and directionless, his brother brings him to his college and introduces him to his professor. The professor engages him in conversation... [More]


How do you handle failure? Honestly, I am terrible at it. I spent years with the belief that I was no good versus my decisions were bad. And never once did I see that it was learning experiences. I just saw all the bad and it was mounting. In case no one told you that attitude... [More]

More Opinions



HS Track

Head coach Steve Navarro said, “The coaching staff has really enjoyed working with this group of kids this year. They have been putting in hard work despite some less than stellar conditions for practice and meets. We are excited to see what they can do now that we are... [More]



Baseball: The Bulldogs faced the Goodland Cowboys at home on Thursday, April 8, losing game one, 2-22 and game two, 1-17. Head Coach Dustin Doze said the Bulldogs really struggled throwing strikes again and they had too many errors. We need to clean things up if we want to... [More]


Spring Sports Start

One year ago, athletes and coaches were beginning practice for their spring sport, some practicing during spring break, others enjoying the break from school. Soon they found out their break was extended a week, some with great joy, others with apprehension. Then came the unfortunate... [More]



Substate began and ended quickly but these Varsity teams left it all out on the court. In heartbreaking last second baskets, our basketball season was over. The boys lost by two points in the last five seconds and the girls lost by three. A wrap up of the season will come in... [More]



The SHS Bulldogs faced the 4-A Holcomb Longhorns for the final home game of the season, with the varsity teams unable to win. The boys will be the number three seed in first sub state match up at home, Monday, March 1, against the number 6 seed, Stanton County. This will be the... [More]


Junior High Bulldog Basketball

The Syracuse Jr. High basketball season has come to end following the High Plains League Tournament last Saturday. And what a season it was. It began when Head coach Jeff Mathias resigned from basketball due to his wife Tori’s health concerns. “The kids love... [More]



The varsity Bulldogs have finished the annual High Plains League Tournament and now looking toward the rest of the season. They will travel to Johnson to face the Stanton County Trojans Friday, January 29.  Junior Varsity boys and girls will play at 3:45, varsity girls... [More]



Syracuse High School varsity basketball teams began the High Plain League Tournament this week. The Monday Tuesday games were hosted by Stanton County and the Thursday, Friday Saturday games will be in Syracuse.  According to Athletics Director, Dan Delgado, this is the... [More]

More Sports



Troy Logan Cartwright

Troy Logan Cartwright, age 60, passed away at his home in Syracuse, Kansas on April 13, 2021. He was born on December 12, 1960 in Tribune, Kansas, the son of Lowell Cartwright and Jan (Peterson) Cartwright. Memorial Services will be held on Saturday, June 26, 2021 at 11:00... [More]

Salvador Orta Carrillo

Mass of Christian Burial for Holly, Colorado resident,Salvador Orta Carrillo will be held at 10:00 a.m. and Rosary at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, June 18, 2021, at St. Frances of Rome Catholic Church in Holly, Colorado.  Interment will follow in the Holly Cemetery.  Visitation... [More]

Ted Sitts

Funeral Services for Holly, Colorado resident, Ted Sitts will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, June 17, 2021, at Valley Memorial Funeral Chapel with Pastor Paul Floyd officiating.  Interment will follow in the Holly Cemetery.  Visitation for Ted will be held from... [More]

Gwendolyn Lucille Woods Reid

On Wednesday May 26, 2021, Gwendolyn Lucille Woods Reid, Homemaker, Mother of four, Bookkeeper, Golfer, and Civic Leader passionate about education, passed away following a stroke at the age of 90 in Houston Texas. Gwen was born the eldest of 4 on September 11, 1930 to Ruby (Toland)... [More]

Marilyn “Sissy” Schurtz

Marilyn Jean Schurtz stubbornly went to join her guardian angels on May 28, 2021 - and surely gave them a few choice words on her way through the heavenly gate as they insisted it was time to go. She undoubtedly felt that 92 years was somehow not quite enough time. Born in... [More]

Norman L. Wilson

Norman L. Wilson, 75, Overland Park, KS, passed away Sunday, May 23, 2021, at Overland Park Regional Medical Center. Services will be held Friday, May 28, 2021, at Holy Spirit Catholic Church, 11300 West 103rd Street, Overland Park, KS, with Visitation at 10:00 AM and the Memorial... [More]

Mary L. Hart

Mary L. Hart, age 64, formerly of Johnson died Monday, May 17, 2021, at Life Care Center of Colorado Springs in Colorado Springs, Colorado. She was born September 19, 1956, in Jacksonville, Florida, the daughter of J.W. and Lora (Waldren) Mitchell. Mary grew up in Jacksonville.... [More]

Francisco David Bustillos

Francisco David Bustillos passed away on Sunday, May 16, 2021 at the age of 71, at the Hamilton County Hospital, in Syracuse, Kansas. He was born on July 10, 1949 in Elterreo, Mamiquipa, Mexico the son of Leopoldo Bustillos Perez and Guadalupe Garcia Martinez. David began his... [More]

More Obituaries

View All Obituaries