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Weller Funeral Home provides holiday service for veterans
ARLINGTON — Weller Funeral Home held its 11th annual holiday remembrance on Dec. 3 to honor the lives of veterans and loved ones in the Arlington and Darrington communities who have passed away but have not received a traditional service or remembrance.
In Weller’s atrium stood a military memorial board of current and deceased vets whose families have been served.
“The service gives us the opportunity to have a meaningful remembrance in the holidays and it helps families who could not have honors for their loved ones,” Weller Funeral Home Director Daniel Keane said. “Grief counseling is sensitive to those who grieve and need help to honor those who serve.”
Weller has also created a Vietnam Memorial wall, modeled after the Washington, D.C. landmark, that traveled to Floral Hills Funeral Home in Lynnwood for three days last year.
“Lots of families go through loved ones’ funerals in a cloud, and when the holidays come there aren’t always services,” said Remembrance Coordinator Mary Jane Harmon, who runs the memorial under Dignity Memorial, which provides funeral, cremation and cemetery services. “So many people in the Arlington and Darrington communities know each other, and we want to recognize vets who haven’t had the services they deserve.”
Those in attendance at the service rose and removed non-service hats to observe a color guard presentation and join in a pledge of allegiance as Boy Scouts presented the flag at the front of the assembly.
Peach Ice sang hymnals accompanied by Jackie Fuller on piano and Pastor Bryce McFadden took the podium, flanked by a Christmas tree bearing memorial ornaments to honor those who have served, to deliver a message of memory, healing and the difficulty of spending holidays with lost loved ones.
“We all have something that ties us together, and that is loss and grief,” McFadden said.
McFadden quoted Robert Frost as a means of helping families to cope with loss — “The best way out is through.” He spoke of family traditions on Christmas and the difficulty of carrying on without loved ones who have always been there.
“Resist the temptation to please everyone else,” McFadden said, noting the importance of personal wellness. “Rely on others. Remember loved ones. Revisit holidays with something new. Life changes, as must we. Rest physically and in the things that bring you comfort.”
McFadden delivered a prayer in closing so that those in attendance and others may know that they do not walk alone during the holiday season.
Fuller provided a musical interlude on a solitary piano including “Winter Wonderland,” “Angels We Have Heard on High,” “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” and “Joy to the World”.
A film presentation, created by Keane and accompanied by “What Child is This,” displayed names and photographs of those lost since last year’s service.
A lone trumpet sounded “Taps” after McFadden read a list of names of fallen veterans.
The service concluded with a reception in which families of those lost received memorial ornaments from the Christmas tree at the front of the room.
“The community bands together, as you can see in the video, to help people heal,” Weller Home General Manager Allen Ice said. “Sometimes it takes a long time to heal, and there isn’t always a chance for it in this culture.”