The Independence Day weekend continued Friday with a ceremony honoring local families of recently fallen soldiers at the Grays Harbor County Fairgrounds.
Fourteen families from Grays Harbor County and surrounding areas were acknowledged with gold-star flags at the event where the American Veterans Traveling Wall Tribute was on display for the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War.
“They are so strong,” said volunteer event coordinator Mary Ellen Parrish, who went through the process of extending invitations to local family members who have lost loved ones recently during the war. She said each phone interview lasted around forty minutes as such individuals told the stories of loved ones they had lost.
“I just needed to listen to what they had to say,” she said. The flag-giving ceremony has occurred since World War I, but has recently been changed from a ceremony honoring strictly “mothers of fallen sons” to one that honors family members of all sorts.
“There were mothers, wives, sisters, husbands … some could not attend because the hurt was just too great,” she said.
Young wives, sisters, step-parents, nieces and nephews and all sorts of family members of those recently killed during action in Afghanistan and Iraq were honored as the military band played service songs in their remembrance.
The American Veterans Traveling Wall Tribute will be on display at the fairgrounds and events will continue throughout the weekend, with events today including: a ceremony at 1 p.m., Veterans Night at the Races at 6 p.m., Band at the Beer Garden at 8 p.m., Field of Honor, located next to Harbor Pacific Bottling, at dusk and a Vigil and Prayer ceremony.
There will be a tribute starting at 10 a.m. on Sunday as well. There is no charge for admission or parking.