Whatcom County offers several ceremonies and events on Memorial Day to honor men and women who have served their country. These ceremonies are open to the public and free to attend and are on Monday, May 30.
The city and American Legion Post No. 7 will host two services: at 9 a.m. at Sunnyland Memorial Park, behind Sunnyland School, 2800 James St.; and at 11 a.m. at Bayview Cemetery, 1420 Woburn St. Both include music from the Bellingham Alumni Band starting 30 minutes before each ceremony. Many local veterans, veterans organizations and members of the community will participate in the traditional laying of the wreaths at each location. The Albert J. Hamilton American Legion Post No. 7 Honor Guard will present the colors, gun salute and a flag-folding ceremony. Charles Whitmore, priest at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Bellingham and a veteran, is master of ceremonies. Guest speaker is U.S. Marine Corps retired Col. Wes Weston of Ferndale. Sonia Alexis will sing, along with the Bellingham Pipe Band.
VFW Post 9474 will present ceremonies at 11 a.m. at the Veterans Memorial, corner of Third and H streets, Blaine, followed by a ceremony at Blaine Cemetery, then Hillsdale Cemetery, and ending at 12:30 p.m. at American Legion Post 86 at 4580 Legion Drive.
VFW Post 9301 will hold a ceremony at 10 a.m. at Lynden Cemetery, Guide Meridian Road and Front Street, with music by the Lynden Middle School Band. Participants include Lonnie Rose, commander of VFW Post 9301; Whatcom County Sheriff Bill Elfo; Lynden Mayor Scott Korthuis; Whatcom County Executive Jack Louws; and keynote speaker Kathy Kershner. Parking is available in the Whatcom Transportation Authority park-and-ride lot adjacent to the cemetery.
A ceremony follows at 1:30 p.m. at Greenwood Cemetery, East Wiser Lake Road between Dykstra and Huisman roads, with music by the Meridian Middle School Band. Participants include Lonnie Rose, who will give opening remarks; and keynote speaker Kathy Kershner.
Both ceremonies feature presentation of colors, prayer, a 21-gun salute and recognition of all veterans, with an honor guard and a horse-drawn carriage to honor the deceased, followed by the placing of wreaths.
Enterprise Cemetery, 7041 Vista Drive, will hold an 11 a.m. ceremony with guest speaker Paul Ingram, commander of American Legion Post 154. Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts will present the colors and Micah Robertson will sing the national anthem. Hundreds of flags have been placed at the grave markers of veterans.
The 51st annual Festival of Flags and Remembrance Ceremony will be from noon to 3 p.m. at Greenacres Memorial Park, 5700 Northwest Drive. The Bellingham Pipe Band, Brass Menagerie and 133rd Brass Patriots will perform, and there will be a dove release and honors presentation with guest speaker David McMaster, honoring the Seabees. Children’s activities will be available. Free hot dogs. Use the Northwest Drive entrance for parking. Provided seating is limited, so bring a lawn chair if you can.
Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 165 will hold a ceremony at 4 p.m. at the Vietnam Memorial at Hovander Homestead Park, 5299 Nielson Ave. (rain location is the nearby pavilion). A picnic for veterans and their families will follow at 5 p.m. in the park pavilion. Participants include retired Air National Guard Col. Lisa Kirk Brown, the keynote speaker; Ron Hardesty, who will sing; Ira Urhig, who will play bagpipes; Riggs Nelson, who will play taps; Jim Stilts of Combat Veterans International Chapter 1, and Cliff Ellyson of VFW Post 9301. Gene Goldsmith will be the master of ceremonies. Hamburgers, hot dogs, baked beans and cake will be provided for the picnic; attendees are asked to bring a dish to share.