WATCH: Memorial Day observance at Tacoma's War Memorial Park
The message Monday from keynote speaker Brig. Gen John “Jack” Haley at the ninth annual Day of Remembrance Memorial Service was one of celebration.
“This day is not to be a day of loss and mourning of those loved and lost,” the commanding general of Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s 593rd Sustainment Command told the crowd gathered at the War Memorial Park in Tacoma.
Instead it is a day to celebrate those who gave their lives for our safety and security, Haley said.
“Their lives were not dedicated to conflict and death, but for compassion and life,” he said.
Hosted by the Tacoma Historical Society and Edward B. Rhones/Parkland Post 2 American Legion, the annual Memorial Day celebration was attended by families, veterans and active duty military members.
The Tacoma Narrows bridges served as the backdrop for the ceremony that included wreaths placed along the walkways in front of the monuments recognizing Pierce County residents who died fighting in World War I and World War II.
A steady wind blew from the Tacoma Narrows, whipping the small American flags placed for the ceremony. The U.S. Army I Corps band played a medley of patriotic songs, including the “Armed Forces Medley” to close the ceremony.
Following the ceremony, event organizer and Tacoma Historical Society member Lee Hendley said attendance at the event grows each year. He wants to see that continue.
As American military service members continue to fight overseas and face deployments around the world, Hendley said it’s important to honor their sacrifices and commitment.
“Just recognizing we have troops all over is wonderful,” he said.