Weekend events remember those who sacrificed

Every Memorial Day, speakers at ceremonies across the nation feel they have to explain what the point of the holiday is.

Perhaps it’s the nonspecific name of “Memorial Day,” but many people have no idea who or what they are supposed to be commemorating. As the unofficial start of summer, the meaning sometimes gets lost amongst the barbecues and road trips.

So let’s be clear.

Memorial Day is a day set aside for the nation to remember the men and women who died while serving in the nation’s armed forces.

These are the people who risked their lives, and ultimately died, for their comrades and for the entire nation. For you and I.

It’s easy to say and hard for most of us to actually comprehend.

Originally called “Decoration Day,” the holiday was borne out of the Civil War and a desire to honor those who died in the many terrible battles. Graves that proliferated across the many cities, towns and hamlets were marked with flowers or other ornaments.

On Whidbey Island, the presence of Whidbey Island Naval  Air Station means the day holds even greater significance.

Last year, three members of Electronic Attack Squadron 129 died when the EA-6B Prowler crashed in Eastern Washington.

The pilot, Lt. Valerie Delaney, 26; flight officer, Lt. William Brown McIlvaine III, 24; and instructor, Lt. Cmdr. Alan Patterson, 34, all lost their lives.

The Navy community also lost five members of the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 11 in Iraq.

Memorial Day is marked with events both solemn and lively on Whidbey.

Coupeville’s Memorial Day parade starts at 11 a.m. Saturday on South Main Street. Central Whidbey Lions will be grilling free hot dogs and also giving away sodas starting at 1 p.m.

A Memorial Day service will be held 10 a.m. Monday at Maple Leaf Cemetery in Oak Harbor. It will be followed by another ceremony at historic Sunnyside Cemetery in Coupeville at noon. The ceremonies are hosted by the American Legion Post 129, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7392 and the Fleet Reserve.

Join us in expressing our gratitude to those men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.


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