Armed Forces Day will be celebrated on Saturday at the Weld County Veterans Memorial in Greeley

The Weld County Veterans Memorial Committee will hold an Armed Forces Day ceremony on Saturday at the Weld County Veterans Memorial in Bittersweet Park in Greeley.

The program begins at 11 a.m. and will be held near the memorial, visible from the intersection of 16th Street and 35th Avenue.

The program will include remarks from Air Force veteran and Greeley resident Abraham Villarreal. Keenesburg American Legion Post 180 will provide a rifle salute and pats, Greeley City Councilman Pro Temp Mayor Brett Payton will read a proclamation and Steve Grant, pastor of Destiny Christian Center Church in Greeley, will provide the invocation and blessing.

Shawn Harmer of the Weld County Veterans Memorial Committee will be the emcee.

Armed Forces Day is celebrated on the third Saturday and honors those who serve in the United States military. Armed Forces Day was created in 1949 under President Harry Truman to recognize the unification of the armed forces under the Department of Defense.

The day was originally celebrated in May 1950 and declared a national holiday in 1961.

Villarreal, 86, enlisted in the Air Force in 1953 at age 17, and trained in Texas and Wyoming before being assigned to the 319th Fighter Interceptor Squadron, Eighth Fighter Bomber Wing at an air base in Suwon, Korea.

Villarreal was military boxing champion in 1954 while in Korea. He worked for the US Postal Service for 30 years after his Air Force service. Villarreal retired in 1992 and hosts two weekly radio shows on KELS LP 104.7 FM in Greeley.

Villarreal and his wife, Roselee, have been married for 68 years and have four children: Richard James, Sherry Miller, Margo Johnson and Isaac James.

The Weld County Veterans Memorial was dedicated on Veterans Day in 1997. It is maintained by the Weld County Veterans Memorial Committee. The memorial now includes more than 17,200 names of Weld County residents who served in the armed forces.

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