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Military Day lets vets, civilians remember their service and sacrifices
ARLINGTON The eighth-annual Military Day at the Stillaguamish Valley Pioneer Hall and Museum Dec. 7 was an appropriately historic-minded occasion, coinciding as it did with the anniversary of Pearl Harbors bombing. The event allowed attendees to reflect on the nations past and present armed conflicts. It also gave former military members the opportunity to trade personal war stories over cookies and punch.
Jim Barron offered an informative account of the events surrounding the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, Dec. 7, 1941. With more than 2,400 Americans killed that morning, as well as significant numbers of ships sunk and airplanes destroyed, Barron acknowledged the success of the attack, but asserted that the remaining repair facilities and aircraft carriers allowed American forces to achieve later victories in the battles of the Coral Sea and Midway Island. He concluded that the day should be used to honor all members of the armed forces, past and present, who have sacrificed on behalf of their nation.
George Grimm has fond memories of his time in the military. Grimm served as a Naval officer from 1942-1948, and witnessed history during his time in air transport, when he flew Chester Nimitz to sign for the United States at the Sept. 2, 1945, surrender of Japan in Tokyo Bay.
We never knew where we were going to go in those days, said Grimm, whose trips took him throughout the Pacific Rim and Europe. I still remember the camaraderie. When youre in the military, the friends you make remain close throughout your life. Last years reunion of my group was bittersweet, because it was our last one, since theres not enough of us left. Most of my old buddies are gone now.
Among the other civilians in attendance were those, like David King, who have taken their own fascination with wartime history a step further, by restoring and maintaining antique military vehicles, such as the two 1942 Harley-Davidsons that he and Rich Hooper drove up from Seattle.
Im part of a military vehicle collectors club, King said, while clad in a 101st Airborne Division Army captains uniform. We make appearances in events like the air show and the parades for the Fourth of July, Memorial Day and Veterans Day. My dad was in WWII and two of my brothers were in Vietnam. My goal is to get out and get seen with this vehicle, to honor and respect our armed forces by showing them that they are appreciated and not forgotten.