Veterans’ Day Memorial with Mellissa Stockwell

Cheyenne Mountain observed their 11th annual Veterans’ Day Memorial Ceremony, honoring veterans and military personnel of the United States with a combination of patriotic music and life lessons.

Cheyenne Mountain Symphonic Band performed “Let Freedom Ring,” a piece inspired by “My Country Tis of Thee” and the “I Have a Dream” speech by Martin Luther King Jr. The choirs joined the ceremony with a conglomeration of anthems from each of the military branches and “America the Beautiful.”

The memorial also included an inspirational speech filled with valuable life lessons from veteran, amputee, and paralympian Mellissa Stockwell.

Mellissa has done a lot since she lost her leg,  “I have done more in my life with one leg than [I did] when I had two.” These accomplishments include fist bumping journalist Tom Brokah, taking a photo with five living presidents, sharing a laugh with Michelle Obama, trading flags with President Bush, and becoming a paralympian.

On April 13th, 2004, Melissa Stockwell was in a Humvee when her life changed forever. She was hit by a roadside bomb in Iraq and lost her leg. She likely would have lost her life if she had not called out for a medic or if someone wasn’t nearby. 

Melissa Stockwell has a unique sense of humor choosing laughter over mourning the loss of her leg, by making jokes about it. Not only does she have her cunning sense of humor, she also is decorated with both the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star awards. Later she went on to earn a Bronze medal in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Summer Paralympics for the triathlon.

Melissa shared her life’s lessons with everyone, saying “Throughout life there will be roadside bombs interrupting everything”, but she wanted to remind everyone that everyone has a choice no matter what happens in life. In the last minutes before the show ended, Melissa asked the audience to “Live in the moment”, encouraging everyone to live their lives the way that they want to.