Remembering Whatcom County’s war dead
In Whatcom County, a number of events for Memorial Day will honor the men and women of the U.S. military who died while serving their country.
The free events are open to the public. One is on Saturday. The others are on Monday.
A longtime parade will go on this year on Saturday, with a new name and a new focus because of a Marine Corps league based in Bellingham.
The Bellingham Regional Chamber of Commerce announced earlier this year that it would no longer put on the Blossomtime Parade in May, citing a lack of support, difficulty in attracting parade entries and a desire to refocus the chamber’s resources and staff.
But the Capt. Daniel B. Bartle Detachment 1335 stepped in to save the parade, which has been a focal point of Ski to Sea weekend.
The event has a new name, the Whatcom Memorial Day Parade. Its theme this year is "Celebrating Our Communities, Remembering Our Heroes."
While the parade has changed, its start time will still be noon at Alabama Street and Cornwall Avenue.
Its route will remain the same as well as it continues south on Cornwall, then east on East Champion Street, north on North State Street to the finish at York Street.
Albert J. Hamilton American Legion Post No. 7 will have two Memorial Day events on Monday, each lasting about an hour:
- The first observance will be at 9 a.m. at Memorial Park, which is at King and East Maryland streets behind Sunnyland Elementary School in the Sunnyland Neighborhood.
- The second service will begin at 11 a.m. at the Bayview Cemetery Memorial Wall, 1420 Woburn St.
Both events will have the same lineup.
Col. Herb Porter, retired from the Air National Guard, will serve as master of ceremonies. Retired Army Lt. Col. Jim McKinney will be the keynote speaker. Sonia Alexis will be the featured vocalist. Rev. Jonathan Weldon from St. Paul’s Episcopal Church will offer prayers. The program also will feature the Albert J. Hamilton American Legion Post No. 7 Honor Guard and the Bellingham Pipe Band.
At each program, there will be the traditional laying of the wreaths ceremony in honor of the men and women who have died in uniform in the country's wars.
The 53rd annual Festival of Flags and Remembrance Ceremony is noon to 3 p.m. Monday at Greenacres Memorial Park, 5700 Northwest Drive in Ferndale. It will include the unveiling of the new Korean War Memorial.
The event will feature music by the Mount Baker Toppers, a release of doves, children's activities and crafts, as well as free hot dogs and refreshments.
The remembrance ceremony begins at 2 p.m. with master of ceremonies Col. Wes Weston and keynote speaker retired Army Col. Kip McCormick.
Whatcom County Cemetery District 10 has organized two Memorial Day ceremonies for Monday.
- The first one is at 10 a.m. at Lynden Cemetery, at Guide Meridian and Front Street. Before the ceremony begins, Boy Scout Troop 4028 and Cub Scout Pack 4032 will place American flags on bronze medallions at gravesites throughout the cemetery to commemorate more than 250 veterans at rest. The Lynden Middle School Band will play. A horse-drawn hearse will deliver a wreath, which will be laid at the Memorial to the Unknowns.
- The second is at 1:30 p.m. at Greenwood Cemetery, at 605 E. Wiser Lake Road. The Meridian Middle School Band will play.
Both ceremonies will feature:
- Lonnie Rose, commander of Lynden VFW Post 9301, giving the opening marks.
- Lourdes E. "Alfie" Alvarado-Ramos, the director of the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs, as the main speaker.
- Whatcom County Executive Jack Louws, Sheriff Bill Elfo and Lynden Mayor Scott Korthuis.
- Boy Scout Troop 4028 and Cub Scout Pack 4032 posting the colors.
- Eagle Scout candidate Carter Johnson leading the Pledge of Allegiance.
- A 21-gun salute by VFW Post 9301.
- "Echo Taps" played by Lynden School Middle student Ian Meyer at the Lynden Cemetery and by Meridian Middle School student Kurtis Kettman at Greenwood, both with Louws.
- Randall Marston, VFW Post 9301 chaplain, offering the benediction.