Warm weather and bright skies beckon Gig Harbor residents outside, some to reclaim lawns and gardens from soppy spring damage and others to enjoy the upcoming promise of summer with watersports and outdoor activities.
Waving under the sunshine and in the cooling breezes are the multitudes of American flags that pop up around town and in cemeteries all over the country in preparation for Memorial Day, and Gig Harbor joins fellow towns and communities in honoring those who died while on military service.
Among the local events observing the holiday is the Fox Island Cemetery, gathering the Fox Island community and guests with its annual Memorial Day Ceremony.
The cemetery remains active and is run by a group of volunteers who organize events and run the nonprofit organization, said Judy Hackett, president of the Fox Island Cemetery Association.
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It’s beautiful and we try to maintain it very nicely for the community. It’s right in the middle of the island, you really can’t miss it when you’re driving along Island Boulevard. It’s very pretty.
Judy Hackett, president of the Fox Island Cemetery Association
“It’s beautiful and we try to maintain it very nicely for the community,” Hackett said. “It’s right in the middle of the island — you really can’t miss it when you’re driving along Island Boulevard. It’s very pretty.”
Located at 600 Island Boulevard, the cemetery is home to 542 graves, with 143 belonging to veterans. One of the veterans buried there dates back to participation in the Civil War, Hackett said, likely involved in the war as a child before moving out West.
The property for the cemetery was donated in 1910 by Fox Island resident A. Hunter, with 16 graves moved to the current location from a previous cemetery.
The Memorial Day event is set to begin with an annual pancake breakfast served by the Fox Island Historical Society from 8 to 10 a.m. The ceremony at the cemetery will begin at 11 a.m., with the flag ceremony performed by local Boy Scout Troop 27.
Performing the flag ceremony is a tradition for the troop, said troop founder and committee chairman John Ohlson.
“We do a lot of flag ceremonies for various events, most notably for Memorial Day and Veterans Day,” Ohlson said. “A lot of what we do involves service to the community. Whether it’s service projects to fix up the park or to help out organizations, it’s all part of the scouting organization.”
The troop and associated Cub Scout Pack 27 will be present at the event and two of the scouts — Aidan Toney and Alex Morgan — will play taps for the ceremony.
Ohlson added that the scouts have done several service projects to help beautify or add to the cemetery. The troop is also recruiting new members with more info at troop27bsa.com.
The annual Memorial Day event brings together current Fox Island community along with visitors and those who have lived on the island previously, Hackett said. Flags and decorations are placed the day before the event to insure that they are fresh for the ceremony.
“We mark all the veteran graves with flags, so there are flags all over that cemetery,” she said.
Fox Island Memorial Day event
The pancake breakfast is $6 for adults $4 for kids, ages 2 and younger free, and runs from 8 to 10 a.m. at the Fox Island Historical Society located at 1017 9th Ave FI.
The Memorial Day Ceremony begins at 11 a.m. at the Fox Island Cemetery, 600 Island Boulevard FI.