Whatcom County Memorial Day ceremonies a reminder of sacrifices made for freedom

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDMay 26, 2014 

LYNDEN - Flags lined walkways and dotted gravesites throughout Whatcom County Monday, May 26, as people gathered together for Memorial Day to remember those who fought and died for their country.

More than 100 people came to the Lynden Cemetery to show their respects at a ceremony that included speakers, music by the Lynden Middle School Band and a 21-gun salute.

Lynden couple Bob and Pauline VanWeerdhuizen attend the Lynden Memorial Day ceremony every year, and they didn't let a little rain stop them this time around.

"I'm a patriotic American," Bob VanWeerdhuizen said. "I'm an old vet. I didn't have to fight, but I served my country."

The couple has a grandson who is a Marine, and they are thankful that he made it home safely after fighting in Afghanistan. Coming to the ceremony every year is the least they can do to honor their grandson and those who are serving the country now, while remembering the many who fought in the past as well.

"The Greatest Generation, we've got to do a little bit. They did a lot more for us than we're doing today," he said. "We should never forget them."

Whatcom County Sheriff Bill Elfo spoke to the crowd and lamented the fact that for many, Memorial Day has become another three-day weekend that has lost its meaning. Lon and Amy Graham wanted to make sure that wasn't the case for their four children.

"I think it's important that the kids know that Memorial Day is about more than just a day off from school," Amy Graham said. "There's more behind it."

The family talked on the car ride from Custer to the cemetery about remembering veterans young and old for the work they do to keep the country safe.

"We just try to talk to the kids about the sacrifices families make," Lon Graham said. "It's not just the sacrifices of the soldier but his family as well, and how important it is to remember that."

Lynda Field was at the ceremony to show support for her daughter, who was playing in the middle school band. She thought the performance was a great way to get the kids involved with the community and teach them valuable lessons about history.

"They're so young. They don't know a lot about war. They don't know a lot about loss," she said. "This is a good way for them to give back."

Reach Zoe Fraley at 360-756-2803 or zoe.fraley@bellinghamherald.com.

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