More than 75 veterans, their families and community members filled Edmonds Veterans Plaza Friday morning to honor and give thanks to those who have served in the military and to the military families who support them and sacrifice with them.
After welcoming remarks from Carl Kurfess, Commander of VFW Post 8870 and the invocation by Post Chaplain Dan Doyle, Edmonds Mayor Mike Nelson delivered introductory remarks.
“You carry the weight many cannot bear,” he began, addressing veterans and their families. “It is a constant reminder that what we have today came with a price that includes not only serving in far-flung locations, often in harm’s way, but the days and nights away from family, missing holidays, children’s’ birthdays and more.”
Concluding with a quotation from Gen. Douglas MacArthur on the meaning of the words duty, honor and country, Nelson stressed that these are not just words that are said, but for veterans it is the words they live.
Keynote speaker Michael Reagan, founder of the Fallen Heroes Project, then spoke of the things that tie veterans together.
“All veterans have one thing in common,” he began, “– memories. Each of us who have served walks a different path. Some were wonderful, allowing us to experience different cultures and people. Others were not pretty or nice, and some of these left scars we don’t like to talk about.
“If you’re not telling your stories and you need to, call me,” he concluded. “I don’t celebrate Veterans Day one day a year — it’s every day for me. When someone dies for me, it’s the greatest gift anyone can give me.”
The second keynote speaker was Mike Schindler, founder and CEO of Operation Military Family.
“I had a prepared speech today, but I’m not going to give it,” he began. “Instead, I want to tell you about a message I received this morning from my daughter, telling me how proud she is of me and my service to our country. It really choked me up. For me, this was a great reminder that because of all who have served and the sacrifices they have made, my daughter is today able to live her passion and pursue a career in medicine.
“I served not for political reasons,” he concluded, “but because I love this country. I don’t believe God put us here to be small — we are here for a reason. Now go out there and do something amazing!”
Photos & portions of the article courtesy Larry Vogel, MyEdmondsNews.com