Arlington honors Memorial Day

ARLINGTON — Alan Bowers didn’t let rainy weather keep him and his sons away from Arlington Cemetery on Memorial Day.

“This is the day to come — to honor those that have died,” said Bowers, who was in the U.S. Navy for 20 years and lives in Arlington.

Bowers, along with his sons Adam, 7, and Justin, 5, were among dozens of military veterans and community members to remember fallen family members and friends during American Legion Post 76’s annual ceremony on Monday, May 31.

The brief ceremony began with members of Post 76 parading the colors, followed by Boy Scout Troop 92’s Dylan Armstrong and other scouts presenting and raising the flag.

As the flag was run up the cemetery’s main flag pole, ceremony attendees hoisted their umbrellas as rain, which fell throughout the day Monday, again began to fall.

Once the flag was raised, speakers from the Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 15616 addressed why citizens must never forget those who were killed while serving in the United States’ armed forces.

Keith Reyes, field service officer for VFW Post 1561 in Arlington, introduced two members of the U.S. Marines — Nathan Sutton and Travis Michael — who spoke about their service.

“I spent eight years in the U.S. Marine Corps, but today’s not about me — it’s about heroes,” said Sutton. “Today is about people who sign up to give their lives.”

Michael said that he joined the Marines right after high school.

“It’s days like this that you get to see what we’re like as a country,” Michael said. “It’s not a right to serve the U.S. military — it’s an honor.”

Military representatives then offered a closing prayer, followed by a gun salute.

The Arlington High School band was on hand to play “The Star Spangled Banner,” “America the Beautiful” and “Taps.”

Jim Barron, finance officer and member of Post 76, said that Legion members and volunteers hung 575 American Flags on Monday morning at the cemetery. The ceremony took place just after 11 a.m.

Earlier that day, American Legion members and volunteers held their annual Memorial Day parade on North Olympic Avenue.

Parade marchers began to trek down the street at 10 a.m., waving at community members huddled under awnings and store fronts in downtown Arlington.

Standing in front of Bank of America, sisters KT and EV Skelly, ages 8 and 4, respectively, waved American flags as the parade went by.

“It’s been a wet and long day,” Barron said. “But we had a pretty good turnout regardless.”

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