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Arlington shows support for veterans

ARLINGTON — The day’s heavy downpour failed to drown out the community spirit of the crowds who lined both sides of the street to cheer for Arlington’s Veterans Day parade this year.

Monica and Gary Schagel were among the huddled masses under Olympic Avenue’s overhangs as the procession kicked off at 11 a.m. on Nov. 11.

“I think we’ve come here every year they’d had it,” said Monica Schagel, who’s lived in Arlington for more than 50 years. “My dad served in the Army in Korea, and our son has served in the War on Terror as part of Naval Intelligence.”

Alan and Jackie Bowers met while they were both serving in the Navy, and the married couple has been bringing their sons, Adam and Justin, to the parade for all 12 years that they’ve lived in Arlington.

“We were talking to the kids as we came here about why we needed to come,” Alan Bowers said. “We feel it’s a responsibility, no matter if it’s rain or shine, because there are a lot of men and women out there right now who are serving in a lot worse conditions than this.”

The Arlington American Legion Post 76 Lounge opened its doors to veterans and their guests at 1 p.m. that day, and served more than 80 Snohomish County veterans, according to Post Cmdr. Dan Wyttenbach. Unfortunately, the number of area World War II veterans who were able to stop by has diminished drastically, from nine in last year’s parade to only three this year. Former Arlington Mayor Howard Christiansen, Russ Kuro and Dale Nakken are all that’s left now.

“We saw about 30 fewer veterans total at the dinner this year than last, but the weather didn’t help,” Wyttenbach said. “Still, with how many people were on the streets, we consider it an outstanding turnout. That’s why I like this Legion. It can be raining cats and dogs, and people will still be out there.”

Herb Singleton, an Army veteran who served in Korea, Okinawa, Hawaii and Japan from 1949-1954, spent part of the afternoon chatting with Carolyn Jean Hunt, whose lifetime of community service includes WWII stints as “Rosie the Riveter” and in the Marine Corps.

“I loved it,” Hunt said. “I did whatever they said to do. I was always volunteering for something. I presented a bouquet of roses to Clark Gable’s wife and helped decorate the boats in Long Beach Harbor. People should donate their time and service in any way they can. You learn to like people of all colors and nations in the service.”

Singleton fondly recalled a Bob Hope stage show overseas which included Marilyn Monroe, and when Hunt encouraged people to be kind to one another, he added, “Giving a vet a hug doesn’t hurt.”

Ernest Cordova retired from the Navy as a senior chief petty officer after 21 years, and the former USS Ingraham crew member still recalls the camaraderie of the service.

“Everybody takes care of each other,” said Cordova, who’s served in both Operation Desert Storm and the current War on Terror. “You endure your hardships as one big family. I still get together with these guys to this day,” he gestured to his fellow chiefs and senior chiefs.

 

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