Arlington observes Memorial Day

Arlington's surviving World War II and Korean War veterans wave to the crowds lining Olympic Avenue during this year's Memorial Day parade.
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

ARLINGTON — As members of Arlington American Legion Post 76 led the downtown parade and cemetery ceremonies in honor of Memorial Day May 26, they reflected on the morning's wet weather.

"It seems like we always get some rain on this occasion," Post 76 Cmdr. Chris Raboin said at the Arlington Cemetery. "I guess that shows that even God cries on Memorial Day."

The morning parade down Olympic Avenue included not only the Legion and members of Arlington Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1561, but also the Arlington High School Marching Band and members of local troops of Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, as well as a local Cub Scouts pack.

While Arlington's surviving World War II and Korean War veterans were still given seats of honor on the back of a truck, from which they waved to the crowds, a new feature was a representative of the U.S. Merchant Marine.

Robert Olivarez Jr., of the Military Order of the Purple Heart Chapter 12 in Seattle, is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom "one, two and three," as he put it during his speech at the Arlington Cemetery.

"Even as I watch my sons play, I remember that this is not just a day off," Olivarez said. "It's a day in honor of those whom we've lost, who sacrificed everything for us. I'm blessed to be here, to speak on behalf of those who aren't."

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