Veterans and their families will be honored during an in-person Memorial Day service on May 31 at Maple Leaf Cemetery in Oak Harbor.
The Oak Harbor Lions Club and Fleet Reserve Association Branch 97 got together to organize the event. Oak Harbor Lions Club member Kelly Davidson led the charge for this year’s Memorial Day service, as she has in the last couple of years.
The “doors” open to the public at 9 a.m. and the event begins at 10 a.m.
The ceremony will be available to view online on select social media pages and can be viewed on Comcast channel 10.
Capt. Matthew Arny, commanding officer of Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, and Rear Adm. Dr. William J. McDaniel, USN ret., will be keynote speakers. There will be a rifle team for a gun salute and NAS Whidbey’s Search and Rescue team will do a flyover.
“This is a good way for our community to stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in arms, especially those who are grieving,” Davidson said.
She said there are six Gold Star families she knew would be in attendance.
There have been upwards of 85 people behind the scenes planning the event, she said.
However, the Sea Cadets have “really stepped up to help,” she said.
“There are a lot of groups coming to help pull this off, but the Sea Cadets have been really excited about it from day one,” Davidson said. “I appreciate their gusto.”
Lt. Maurice Davis with the Sea Cadets said all 14 cadets have found a way to serve.
The Orion squadron of the Naval Sea Cadets is a nonprofit civilian youth program for kids 10-18 years of age. Younger cadets are known as Navy League Cadet Corps and older ones ages 13 and up are in the Naval Sea Cadet Corps.
The Oak Harbor Navy League sponsors the local unit.
Davis said that community service is a key part of the Sea Cadets’ efforts, and members are participating as ushers for Gold Star families, in the Color Guard, and playing music.
“This is going to be the first event for almost a year that they’ve been able to participate in so they’re really excited about doing something again,” Davis said.
Besides the Lions Club and the Fleet Reserve Association, the Whitehead-Muzzall VFW Post 7392 and the American Legion George Morris Post 129 also support the event.
The proceeds from any donations given during the event will be split between the Lions Club, the Fleet Reserve Association, the VFW and the American Legion.
Davidson asked that those attending to bring a mask with them, but said she will also have a stack of masks on hand if someone does not have their own.
She added that she anticipates more people than usual at this year’s event since there are not many in-person ceremonies happening this year.