ARLINGTON — While the 14th annual “Military Day” at the Stillaguamish Valley Pioneer Hall and Museum on Dec. 7 received relatively modest attendance numbers, event organizers were heartened to see local Boy Scouts such as 10-year-old Michael Vaughn in attendance, as they took the time to shake the hands of the veterans in attendance, and thank them for their service to their country.
Of Jack Hayes’ 21 years in the Army, six were spent serving in Vietnam, where he was joined by not only two of his brothers, but also his brother-in-law. While he was reticent to share too many details of his time overseas, he appreciated the courtesy of Vaughn, who joined his fellow Boy Scouts in conducting a flag ceremony at the Pioneer Hall in honor of the occasion.
“We should be nicer to our veterans,” Vaughn said. “Don’t overlook what they have to teach you.”
Both Vaughn and his fellow Boy Scout Jayden Winters took pride in the fact that their forebears — Vaughn’s grandfather, as well as Winters’ great-grandfather — had served in World War II.
“It’s valuable whenever we can show our respect to those who fought for our country, and gave us the freedom to conduct events like this,” said Greg Vaughn, Michael’s father.
“Any time there’s any kind of event like this, he’s all over it,” said Sherri Winters of her son Jayden. “He’s all about service and experience.”
Jared Dickson was one of the survivors of the sinking of the USS Curtiss at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, and after offering his recollections at last year’s “Military Day” at the Pioneer Hall, he returned this year to observe the ceremonies, and visit with fellow veterans and their families in the Pioneer Museum’s aisles of local war memorabilia.
“The bombing of Pearl Harbor was a terrifying experience that I don’t care to talk about,” Dickson said. “I’m real proud of the fellows who fought for our country at the time, but we’re all going to be a thing of the past very soon.”
Willy Hughes, commander of Arlington Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1561, touted WWII veterans such as Dickson as examples that all Americans, military and civilian alike, should strive to emulate.
“We remain inspired by their resolve and their unrelenting dedication,” Hughes said on Dec. 7, “and today, 72 years later, we are still inspired by their actions. So, let’s leave here equally determined to serve our nation as selflessly as they did, and let’s strive to make them proud.”