While people played at Prospect Lake on Saturday morning, a somber ceremony took place just up the hill at the Submarine Veterans Memorial.
The names of submarines that have been lost in wartime and during peacetime, and the number of submariners who died with each sub, were read off by Brandon Martinez, commander of the Southern Colorado Base of U.S. Submarine Veterans Inc.
The name of each submarine was acknowledged by the deep clang of a bell as surviving veterans placed tiny American flags into a model of a submarine.
In all, the bell rang out 56 times, once for each lost boat, starting with the USS Sealion, which went down Dec. 10, 1941. Five men were lost.
It ended with the USS Scorpion, which went down May 27, 1968, and lost 99 men.
The Tolling of the Boats Ceremony on Saturday was attended by about 50 people.
It was presented by U.S. Submarine Veterans Inc. Southern Colorado Base and WWII Veterans in recognition of those who served in the "silent service," deep beneath the surface of the sea.
These were men who lived by the sea. Some of them died by the sea.
"We pray this will never happen again," U.S. Navy Reserve Capt. Arthur Glynn said. "Frankly, that's too much to ask."
Ringing the bell was Franklin Richard, retired master chief, who spent 361/2 years in the Navy, "most of it on submarines," he said.
His vest was a litany of the subs he served on.
The USS Grampus. The USS Angler. The USS Remora.
"The submarine service, the silent service endures, protecting our nation," Glynn said. "It quite frankly does not get the glory, the highlight that is warranted."
Four thousand seamen lost their lives serving in the submarine forces, said Bernie Herpin, a retired Navy lieutenant and former Colorado Springs City Council member.
A total of 72 U.S. submarines have been lost, he said.
"Some men lost their lives individually, but by far the greater number died as boats failed to return from patrol," Herpin said. "In some instances, the cause of the loss was known, but in most cases, the report: 'submarine overdue, presumed lost,' was the epitaph for submarine and men."
During World War II, he said, the U.S. submarine force suffered the highest percentage of losses of any branch of the military with 3,500 deaths.
Seven submariners were awarded the Medal of Honor, two posthumously.
"They are remembered not as men who were, but as men who are," Herpin said.