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Oak Harbor honors the fallen

VFW Chaplain Wes Wilson reads a prayer and salutes the fallen at Monday
VFW Chaplain Wes Wilson reads a prayer and salutes the fallen at Monday's Memorial Day service at Maple Leaf Cemetery.
— image credit: Janis Reid/Whidbey News-Times

Heads bowed and tears were shed during a Memorial Day service Monday at Maple Leaf Cemetery in Oak Harbor.

Graves decorated with flags and flowers surrounded a group of more than 60 people who gathered despite rain earlier that morning.

“Memorial Day is something special,” said Fleet Reserve Association President George Brown during his remarks. “It’s for everyone who has served our country and still supports our country.”

The service was conducted by leadership of the Veteran’s of Foreign Wars Post No. 7392 in conjunction with other veteran groups including the American Legion and the Fleet Reserve Association.

Keynote speaker Dennis Jones, senior vice commander of the Oak Harbor American Legion Post No. 129, stressed that Memorial Day should be more than just another holiday.

“So many people look at this as just another day, but it’s not,” Jones said. “We’ve lost almost three million to combat death.”

“We don’t know how many more we are going to lose. The only thing I’m reasonably certain of is that many of us will be here to honor the fallen.”

Jones encouraged those in attendance to keep the deceased in their thoughts year round, not just on Memorial Day.

“The adage freedom isn’t free is true,” Jones said. “Let us keep those people in our minds daily so they know their sacrifice will not be forgotten. We are honored to be able to honor them.”

In addition to speakers, the service included the traditional silent salute, placement of the wreaths and the two-bell ceremony, which was read by Fleet Reserve 1st Vice President Shawn Seribian.

“The toll of the ship’s bell reminds us of the reverence we owe to our departed shipmates and to those who guard the honor of our country upon the sea, under the sea, in the air and upon foreign soil,” Seribian read as the bells rang. “Let it be a reminder of the faith they confide in us.”

“Let us who gather here not forget our obligations and in silence breathe a prayer for our absent shipmates.”

 

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