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Marysville commemorates Memorial Day
MARYSVILLE — Cloudy skies and a few raindrops weren’t nearly enough to dampen the enthusiasm of the crowds who thronged the Marysville Cemetery at 11 a.m. on Monday, May 28, for American Legion Post 178’s annual Memorial Day commemoration.
Post Chaplain Jim Sewell opened by exhorting those in attendance not only to remember the sacrifices of those who have served, but also to carry the stories of who they were, what they did and why they did it into the future.
Post Cmdr. Ken Cage explained that he would be offering the day’s primary speech, since his invited guest speaker, Naval Station Everett Executive Officer Cmdr. Dan Limberg, was still recovering from minor surgery.
“We pay our respects to those departed comrades who have reported to their final duty station, where God is their Commander in Chief,” Cage said. “As usual, our sunshine is as dry or moist as God wants us to have on this Memorial Day. The fact that so many of you are here to pay your respects is a tribute to the spirit of America.”
Cage repeated the old saying that, while Thanksgiving is a time for Americans to give thanks for the things they have, Memorial Day is a time for them to give thanks to the people who have fought for the things they have.
“I was once asked, ‘Why do you hang around the cemetery on a three-day weekend? Why don’t you go camping and have some fun?’” Cage said. “My simple answer was, ‘Because I remember.’ That is why we are all here, because we remember. We remember the thousands of brave men and women who fought and died so that we could stand here and pay tribute to the heroism of their memories. Yes, they were all heroes, whether their medals said so or not.”
Cage commended the number of people in attendance who have themselves served in America’s military, whose current wars he described as more complex than those that previous generations of veterans might remember from their own experiences.
“We have thousands of men and women serving in hot spots around the world, some dying every day, adding to that long list of heroes to whom we all owe a tremendous debt of gratitude,” Cage said. “Our American ideals are being assaulted like never before. Why? Because we are a free people and allow our citizens the freedom to choose their own destiny.”
Cage wrapped up his remarks by urging his audience not to underestimate the power of a simple “thank you” to show one’s support for America’s veterans, and recalled the reaction he received when he offered a hand salute to a Korean War veteran in a restaurant.
“That brought the most beautiful smile to his face you can imagine,” Cage said. “Whatever means you choose to express your thanks, do it. Our troops need to know that there are patriotic Americans behind them who are praying for their safe return.”
Among those in the community who showed their support for veterans through this year’s Memorial Day ceremony were the Marysville-Pilchuck High School Band, led by John Rants, returning for their second year of providing music for the ceremony, and the M-PHS Naval Junior ROTC, whose color guard not only paraded the colors but also assisted with flag details. Local businesses who pitched in included Pilchuck Rental donating toward the rental of chairs for the crowd, Marysville Floral providing flowers, Circle N Laundry drying the flags and the Oosterwyk Dutch Bakery making the cookies.
As the crowd dispersed at the close of the ceremony, Petty Officer 1st Class Justin Davila of USS Rodney M. Davis, home-ported at Naval Station Everett, reflected on his own eight years of active-duty service, five months of which recently included counter-narcotics operations in the Caribbean and off the coast of Panama.
“We come from all walks of life to get the mission done,” Davila said, agreeing with Cage that the military’s missions might not be what many civilians think of. “The war in the Middle East is not our only front right now. The Navy is also engaged in counter-piracy and counter-illicit trade operations. It can be deadly.”
Davila wore his dress blues to the Marysville Cemetery honor those who have come before him in service, among them “those who were left behind,” but he also enjoys making his mother proud with the signs of his own service.