By MAX ERIKSON
Memorial Day is a time to honor and remember the lives of the men and woman who served their country and made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms. It is also a time to remember those who served, returned home, and passed later.
A Memorial Day ceremony will be held 11 a.m. Monday, May 27 at Lynnwood Veterans Park to honor those veterans who gave their life in service. Veterans Park is located at 194th Street Southwest and 44th Avenue West in Lynnwood.
Lynnwood American Legion Post 37 and Lynnwood Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1040 (VFW), are sponsoring the ceremony that is now past 25 years for the event. The ceremony starts at 11 a.m. and runs until noon.
This year’s ceremony will be dedicated to all Korean War veterans will open with a bugle call. An entrance procession will follow to the “Marine Corps Hymn” played by the Northwest Junior Pipe Band on the bagpipes. The Nile Shrine Center Legion of Honor, and the VFW Post 1040 Honor Guard will also lead the procession.
An invocation will be given by U.S. Army Veteran Chaplin Patrick McGrady and City of Lynnwood Mayor Nicola Smith will address the crowd. There will be a laying of wreaths in honor of each branch of military and a rifle salute by the VFW 1040 honor guard. One of those wreaths will be for Marine Corporal Stephen Rintamaki who was killed in action in Iraq 2004.
The Boy Scouts, from Lynnwood Troop 49, will be assisting in placing flags on sites throughout the park and distributing programs.
The program will end with the playing of Taps and then one last song by the Northwest Junior Pipe Band. Family members and the community are then encourage to take a few moments to tour the park and reflect on the meaning of Memorial Day.
The ceremony was started back in the 1990s when the American Legion and the VFW developed Veterans Park with funds donated by Post 37. Through the years, the park was furnished with a memorial stone, flagpole and other displays around the park. There are bricks around the park, and in the memorial stone, with the names of veterans from the past that number more than 300. Family members can purchase bricks from the VFW or American Legion if they would like to add their family members’ name to the memorial.
John Beam, Commander of VFW 1040, says they have been upgrading and expanding the site every year, and the ceremony is a very sincere way to honor our veterans.
“We have veterans represented on bricks here from the Civil War, World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and some from Desert Storm,” Beam said. “People have a chance to see all these names of veterans, it is a nice park to wander through.”
Beam retired from the Navy and served in Vietnam. For him, Memorial Day is a reminder of the guys who are still 19, and will forever be 19.
“They did for our country what was asked of them, and we remember those guys,” Beam said. “We remember individuals lost many years ago, and the memories of those who did come back but later passed. It means a lot to remember those who served.”
Memorial Day was originally known as Decoration Day, and it originated a few years after the end of the Civil War. For many years, Memorial Day honored only those who fought in the Civil War, but during World War I the holiday changed to honor all military service members who died in all wars. Memorial Day was originally observed on May 30 until 1968 when congress passed a law to recognize it as federal holiday to be observed on the last Monday in May. The law went into effect making Memorial Day a federal holiday in 1971.