Memorial Day Service of Remembrance to be held Monday
— Created May 25, 2022 by Kathy Reed
By Kathy Reed
The Oak Harbor Lions Club and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7392 will hold the fourth annual Memorial Day Service of Remembrance Monday at 10 a.m. at Maple Leaf Cemetery in Oak Harbor. The event will also be live streamed online at md22.ohlions.org.
In-person seating will begin at 9 a.m. and those attending are asked to wear masks.
“This holiday gives us the opportunity to honor and pay respects to those of our service men and women who have given their lives in service to our country,” said Kelly Davidson, chair of the organizing committee for this event. “It is especially true in this tight-knit military community, where several men and women you encounter casually at the grocery store or post office have served (or are currently serving) and have stories of their own about friends they’ve lost during times of war – and of peace – in training exercises preparing for battle.”
Speakers this year include Maj. Gen. Patricia (Trish) Rose, U.S. Air Force (Ret.), Capt. Christopher Bahner, Commander, Electronic Attack Wing, U.S. Pacific Fleet and U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell.
Oak Harbor High School NJROTC, ORION Squadron of the Naval Sea Cadet Corps and Sons of the American Revolution will present colors as the Patriot Guard Riders stand at attention. Sea Cadets from Naval Station Everett will also join the ceremony, as PO3 Yosefa Orloff sings the “National Anthem.” Members of the ORION Squadron will also usher guests to their seats.
Davidson said she feels it is particularly important young people take part in this service.
“It is important we keep the tradition alive, remembering why this holiday is important, so that it is not lost on the youth of today, who so easily take for granted how different things could be for us, and how different things ARE for other youth around our globe,” she said.
The remembrance service will include live music by local artists and the Scottish American Military Society, and the VFW, American Legion and Fleet Reserve will perform a traditional wreath laying ceremony.
As guests arrive, they can also see a Life Flight helicopter and a scale model of the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier.
“The Pacific Northwest Naval Air Museum will once again be bringing its USS Nimitz model for display, and Life Flight will land its helicopter on-site for display as well,” Davidson explained. “The Life Flight pilots and nurses have agreed to be on hand to answer questions and show the helicopter off to interested attendees as they arrive, and the Nimitz model will have representatives as well to answer questions.
“Additionally, the Sons of the American Revolution, George Washington Chapter, will have its historical flag line on display (flags displaying the progression of our American Flag to what we know it as today) and will have uniformed Sons of the American Revolution and Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War to explain each flag to our attendees as well,” she continued. “Many thanks to these groups for coming to our service and to Navy Fire and Oak Harbor Fire for bringing their engines this year as well.”
The ceremony will conclude with a “Missing Man” formation fly-over by Electronic Attack Squadron 132 of Naval Air Station Whidbey Island.
Davidson said now more than ever, it is important to acknowledge the vital role military personnel and first responders play every day.
“Considering our current global climate and tensions, it is without a doubt important for us to recognize how quickly our community’s ‘training protocols’ could change to ‘active wartime deployment,’ which not only would affect our families stationed here on active duty, but potentially trigger those veterans among us who are suffering from their own memories of wartime deployment,” she said. “It is important to me that we remember our fallen on this special holiday, and also offer words of encouragement to those among us who have served, and are serving, our country whose friends and loved ones returned home with the flag they swore to protect draped over them.”
There will also be a brief, traditional wreath laying service by the VFW, American Legion and Fleet Reserve at 1 p.m. at Sunnyside Cemetery in Coupeville.
Approximately 450 people attended the in-person Memorial Day service last year. Those who cannot attend in person can see the event live streamed at md22.ohlions.org.