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Ceremonies at cemeteries remember war veterans

"Katie Lesse places a jar of lilacs on her grandfather's grave before Monday's Memorial Day program at the Bayview Cemetery.Matt Johnson / staff photosThough Bayview Cemetery was crowded with more than 50 people Monday morning, it was - at times - quieter than usual.A Memorial Day remembrance organized by the South Whidbey American Legion Post and the South Whidbey Veterans of Foreign Wars was marked with a number of silent moments, during which children as young as one and men and women as old as 80 were asked to think about soldiers who had died on the battlefield and soldiers who are still serving in the United States military.Standing in the cemetery, where about half the graves were marked with tiny U.S. flags to denote war veterans, those gathered also listened - to Taps played by high school trumpeter Jenny Westfall, to a four-rifle salute to the nation's war dead, and to Legion Commander Chuck Hinckel speak about the nation's current isolation from the reality of war so many previous generations had to experience.Standing in the midst a forest of U.S., MIA/POW, and Washington state flags brought to the cemetery for the occasion, Hinckel said the current generation gets all its information about warfare from television shows and movies. He said that type of violent entertainment distorts reality and the true sacrifices and horrors war veterans have made and experienced since the Revolutionary War.It is hard for us to imagine a battlefield of the Civil War, he said.Many at the cemetery were there to pay quiet tribute not so much to the war dead, but to veterans they had known in life. Liz Leese brought her three daughters, her son, and her mother, Jane Sloan, to place a bouquet of lilacs at the grave of her father, Todd Sloan. Leese said that before her father died, he made certain her children knew what it is to be a veteran.I think it's a wonderful thing to keep it alive for the kids, she said.The Daughters of the American Revolution and Boy Scout Troop 57 also held a remembrance service Monday at the Clinton Cemetery. "

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