The Iowa Vietnam Memorial wall.

The Iowa Vietnam Memorial wall.

Iowans have gathered for ceremonies throughout the state today to honor the nation’s war dead. Daniel Gannon of Ankeny was a Marine Corps platoon leader in Vietnam. He says veterans need to take time to talk about the experience of war.

“For we are living witnesses, and if we become silent, those sacrifices will be forgotten,” Gannon says. “Remember: freedom is not free.”

Gannon spoke earlier today during a ceremony on the statehouse grounds.

“How do we honor those who did not come home or came home bent or broken in both body or spirit?” Gannon asked. “And remember, many are still suffering today…Therefore we must talk.”

Veterans laid wreaths this morning on the Vietnam and Korean War Memorials that sit to the south of the state capitol building. A bugler played taps and a 21-gun salute was fired. A crowd gathered early this afternoon east of the capitol for another ceremony at the state’s World War Two Memorial.

The historic Summit Church in Davenport was the site of a nine a.m. worship service, the 97th annual Memorial Day observance at the church. This evening the Omaha symphony is scheduled to cross the border and perform a concert at River’s Edge Park in Council Bluffs, starting at eight o’clock.

(Reporting by Iowa Public Radio’s Michael Leland; additional reporting by Radio Iowa’s O. Kay Henderson)