Memorial Day is the federal holiday where we honor and remember the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. The majority of my four years in the United States Air Force were spent at Rhein-Main Air Force Base in Frankfurt, Germany. In the 1960s, Rhein-Main served as the primary airlift and passenger hub for U.S. forces in Europe. Although I did not serve in Vietnam, I saw the reality of that war with returning military caskets lined up near the flight line, under Army guard, waiting for that flight home to the United States and their loved ones. I'll never forget it! These young men and women are our heroes, giving the ultimate sacrifice for our country and our many freedoms we sometimes take for granted.
Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries and memorials, family gatherings and participating in parades. For me, Sunnyland Memorial Park/War Memorial is a special place for reflection and remembering our heroes. Memorial Park is located behind Sunnyland Elementary School on James Street. As you enter the memorial, you will notice several large granite plaques/stones, each representing a different war, with the names of Whatcom County men and women who died in these wars etched in the granite. As someone who was born and raised in Bellingham, I find myself scrolling through the names and trying to put a face with the name. We owe these men and women so much! God Bless these men, women and their families.
As a veteran and member of the Albert J. Hamilton American Legion Post No. 7 in Bellingham, I would invite you to observe the American Legion-sponsored Memorial Day observances on Monday, May 26, starting with Sunnyland Memorial Park at 9 a.m., Bayview Cemetery at 11 a.m. and ending with the Festival of Flags at Greenacres Cemetery at 1 p.m. I've had the honor of coordinating the Albert J. Hamilton American Legion memorial day activities as well as our Veteran's Day Celebration. It is a humbling task but very rewarding. Please join us on this special day of remembrance.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Greg Brethour is past commander, Albert J. Hamilton, American Legion Post No. 7 in Bellingham.