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Marysville celebrates Memorial Day | SLIDESHOW
MARYSVILLE — The Memorial Day ceremony at the Marysville cemetery has seen a growth in attendance in recent years, as elected officials and other dignitaries have taken time to pay their respects to America’s veterans.
“We had between 350-400 chairs out here last year, just because of the number of people who were standing,” said Beth Opel, family service supervisor at the Marysville Cemetery, shortly before the ceremony commenced at 11 a.m. on Monday, May 27. “This year, we brought out 100 more, but we still have people standing. Next year, we’ll see about getting a tent to cover the audience.”
Although Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring had no speech of his own, he still joined state Rep. John McCoy of the 38th Legislative District, who offered his thanks to those in attendance.
“This is a day to honor our fallen service members who made the ultimate sacrifice, but it’s also a day to remember those who are still with us, who have issues that need to be addressed,” said McCoy, who pledged that he would continue to work on behalf of veterans in Olympia.
McCoy, a retired Air Force veteran from Tulalip, had attended similar services at Priest Point on the Reservation at 10 a.m. that same day, and noted that the numbers of older veterans are dwindling.
“It’s disheartening to see that so many have gone on to the other side,” McCoy said. “Our veterans keep our country free, as it should be.”
McCoy’s sentiments echoed the opening prayer of Marysville American Legion Post 178 Chaplain Jim Sewell, who credited America’s military with giving all its citizens “the gift of a free and democratic society,” a contribution which he asserted that everyone should take care to remind themselves and others.
“We need to carry their love and honor and duty forward to future generations,” Sewell said. “They cleared the pathway for us to continue on.”
Post 178 1st Vice Cmdr. Jennifer Smolen presented red, white and blue flowers in honor of America’s POWs and MIAs, with the assistance of Post member Farland Dubarry, before the Marysville-Pilchuck High School Naval Junior ROTC Honor Guard rendered a rifle salute to the dead.
Post 178 Cmdr. Jeremiah Fort delivered the ceremony’s closing comments by citing the number 1.33 million.
“This number represents the fathers, mothers, sons, daughters and friends that have given their lives defending the United States Constitution,” Fort said. “These young men and women all have one thing in common. They took an oath when entering the United States military.”
Fort recited that oath, in which military members solemnly swear to uphold the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. He then explained why the Constitution deserves that commitment.
“It’s the foundation for what our country is built upon,” Fort said. “Every single freedom and right that you enjoy on a daily basis is guaranteed in this document. Throughout history, our service members have continued to give their lives protecting what so many take for granted, and have no realization of the true cost of their freedom.”
Before repeating Calvin Coolidge’s quote that “the nation which forgets its defenders will soon be forgotten,” Fort asked those in attendance to consider what they would be willing to do to protect their way of life.
“Are you willing to say goodbye to your family, not knowing when or if you’ll return?” Fort asked. “Will you wipe away the tears from your spouse’s eyes and tell them, ‘I love you. I’ll be all right. Don’t worry about me’? The men and women that we are here to honor today did those things. They left their families and friends behind on their final journey to Post Everlasting, while defending the rights and freedoms that we know and love.”