The fourth annual Memorial Day Service of Remembrance at Maple Leaf Cemetery provided the city of Oak Harbor a beautiful and moving way to honor military personnel who died serving in the armed forces.
Command Master Chief Charles Bond hosted the ceremony, which started off with a color guard presentation performed by the Oak Harbor High School Naval Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps Color Guard, Sons of the American Revolution (George Washington Chapter) and the Naval Sea Cadets (ORION Squadron).
This was followed by a VSO Wreath Laying Presentation and short speech by U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell.
“To your families and the gold star families represented here today, we say thank you,” Cantwell said. “Our nation owes you a debt of gratitude that can never fully be repaid.”
The Oak Harbor High School Naval Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps Armed Drill Team gave a presentation.
Major General Trish Rose spoke about how the past couple of Memorial Day celebrations have looked different due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Whether we are here in person or attending an event virtually, the memories and emotions this day brings are always the same,” Rose said. “For countless families across the nation, Memorial Day is still often a stark and painful reminder of those who were never afforded the opportunity to be honored like so many of us as veterans for their service to our country.”
Capt. Christopher Bahner also spoke.
“Our families all differ by our backgrounds, upbringings, race and creeds but for those who have lost a loved one, the sacrifice for this country, there is a common bond,” Bahner said. “There’s a photo album or a flag sitting on a shelf that is looked at with longing and sadness. There is a gold star hanging in the window. There is a sense of what could have been.”
Maura Maund, Navy Gold Star coordinator at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, spoke about the families who have lost a loved one in war.
“The Navy recognized that no one has given more to our nation than our families of the fallen, our Gold Star families,” she said.