Having to cancel some other plans for today turned into a blessing– I was able to attend the 64th Annual Veterans Day Memorial Celebration at Evergreen Washelli’s Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery.
Evergreen Washelli and their volunteers did an amazing job hosting this event. For starters, there were employees in maze of roadways directing parking. It could have been chaos without them. As I met up with some people close to the staging area, total strangers were chatting with one another and offering to help each other out.
What made my day, though, was this fine group of young men who were greeting people and handing out programs. I forgot to ask what Cub Scout Packs they are a part of, but what a joy to receive such a warm welcome. I asked one of the den mothers if I could snap their picture, and while I didn’t intend for them to pose, they gleefully clumped together for this lighthearted shot. Great job, guys! You made everyone there feel like a celebrity.
Before the parade of colors started, men and women from young Sea Cadets to older veterans in plain clothes prepared to march up the hill.
Every one of these graves had a flag on it. It was like a carpet of vibrant patriotism and white marble had flowed down like lava from the Chimes Tower.
The parade of colors begins. In the program, the Seattle University Army ROTC Color Guard was credited as one of the organizations participating.
What beautiful colors. See the man sitting on the bottom left in the next photo? He was in a wheelchair being pushed by his wife. I noticed the local media taking pictures of him; it is touching to see that nothing will keep some veterans from honoring their fellow soldiers and country. But it is important at Veterans Day celebrations to personally thank men and women for their service, not just treat them like objects on display.
In talking to this couple after the service, I learned that he spent about 30 years in the Army, much of that in Germany, supported by a wonderful wife who’s still by his side. Again, thank you!
Seeing people of all ages participate in this ceremony was heartwarming.
The rifle salute was handled by the 502nd Military Intelligence Battalion, 201st Battlefield Surveillance Brigade from JBLM. They exuded class and poise. For those outside of Washington, JBLM is Joint Base Lewis-McChord. In the past we called these military installations Fort Lewis and McChord Air Force Base.
This is who I sat by, Derrell O. King, who would have been just a little boy when World War I broke out.
This is hallowed ground. Every one of these markers represents an American who served their country so that others might be free. If you click on the picture and zoom in, you can see just how short some of their lives were. Some of them were just kids. Some of them never got to find true love or have children or have a career; they gave that up so that you and I could.
Both of these men served in Vietnam. They had different jobs and different ranks, making them different parts of the same body. But all of those body parts are important and have to work together, a concept the keynote speaker, Staff Sergeant Ty Carter touched on. SSGT Carter was awarded the Medal of Honor for his fierce and fearless actions in Afghanistan in 2009. He said that the Medal of Honor is not about what he did, but what his fellow soldiers did, working together as a team.
Below, a Cub Scout poses by the Doughboy statue. It has an interesting history which you can read about on Evergreen Washelli’s site. The term doughboy generally refers to a solider in World War I. The last World War I veteran died in 2011 at the age of 110. Over 600 World War II veterans are dying every day– if you know one, be sure to thank them and record their story so it’s not lost.
Fox News just published a story about the last toast of the Doolittle Raiders. If you’ve seen the movie Pearl Harbor, then you have an idea just how gutsy these guys were.
While leaving the cemetery, I realized that in true oblivious Seattle fashion some people had parked their vehicles two abreast and blocked an exit. The line of cars I was in had to turn around and find another way out. But that gave me more time to ponder just how much some of our forefathers and contemporaries have given up to protect us. And that was heavy.
Thank you, veterans!
Sleep, comrades, sleep and rest
On this Field of the Grounded Arms,
Where foes no more molest,
Nor sentry’s shot alarms!
Ye have slept on the ground before,
And started to your feet
At the cannon’s sudden roar,
Or the drum’s redoubling beat.
But in this camp of Death
No sound your slumber breaks;
Here is no fevered breath,
No wound that bleeds and aches.
All is repose and peace,
Untrampled lies the sod;
The shouts of battle cease,
It is the Truce of God!
Rest, comrades, rest and sleep!
The thoughts of men shall be
As sentinels to keep
Your rest from danger free.
Your silent tents of green
We deck with fragrant flowers
Yours has the suffering been,
The memory shall be ours.
-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
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2 thoughts on “Veterans Day in Seattle”
You have made me very proud with this article, cousin!!!!
Thank you! We have many generations of veterans to be proud of!