The traditional Memorial Day observance at the Edmonds Cemetery drew an estimated 200 attendees. “The Edmonds Cemetery is the final resting place to approximately 600 veterans dating back to the Civil War,” began Cemetery Board Member Jerry Janacek as he welcomed attendees. Janacek’s remarks were followed by a presentation of the colors by members of the Edmonds VFW Post 8870, the Pledge of Allegiance led by a contingent of Girl Scouts, singing of “The Star Spangled Banner” by David Little, and a bagpipe rendition of “Grand Old Flag” by piper Jan Begg.
In his invocation, Pastor Barry Crane of Edmonds’ North Sound Church reminded attendees that “though we come from many races and religion, we are all Americans, and we realize that freedom is not free.” Crane was followed by the North Sound Singers under the direction of Allan Skoog singing “America the Beautiful.”
Edmonds Mayor Mike Nelson spoke briefly, noting that Arlington National Cemetery was created in the wake of the Civil War, a war that saw “the greatest loss of life of any of America’s armed conflicts.”
Keynote speaker was Monica McNeal, president of American Gold Star Mothers for Washington, Alaska and Oregon, a group of mothers who lost a son or daughter while in service to their country. Monica spoke about the loss of her son, Lance Cpl. Eric Levi Ward, killed in action in Afghanistan on Feb. 21, 2010.
Since then, she has dedicated herself to honoring Eric’s service and that of others who continue to serve. Eric now rests in Arlington National Cemetery. “The true cost of war is not the trillions of dollars, but in young lives like Eric’s,” she concluded. “Some gave all; all gave some. God bless America.”
McNeal was followed by Mike Denton of VFW Post 8870, with the missing man table ceremony in memory of those who remain missing in action. Next was the ship’s bell ceremony officiated by VFW Post 8870 Commander Carl Kurfess, who read off the names of Snohomish County service members who died in Iran and Afghanistan. Kurfess was assisted by Vietnam veteran John Shelton, who rang the bell as each name was read.
The ceremonies ended with “God Bless America” by the North Sound Singers, the benediction by Pastor Barry Crane, taps and a rendition of “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipes.
Excerpted from story & photos by Larry Vogel, MyEdmondsNews