Reader view: Heroism at home this Memorial Day

Olivia Olson

For decades, families, friends, and neighbors have stood shoulder to shoulder at the Edmonds Cemetery, enduring the rain or relishing the sun, with red poppies sprouting from their buttonholes and American flags demarcating the graves of the fallen heroes resting below their feet.

Bagpipes, brass, and rifle shots echo as a reverent audience bows its head in remembrance, prayer, and respect. This ceremony, with its herculean task to pay homage to the ultimate sacrifice of our men and women in uniform, has annually provided our city with an opportunity to appreciate the blessings of liberty our veterans have secured for us. These blessings manifest in the devoted team responsible for this event, our talented vocalists and musicians, our articulate and thoughtful local leaders, and our spirited and patriotic community.

Today, as I stand with my family on the vacant grounds of the White Table Ceremony, where once stood folding chairs and picnic blankets, I am struck that though we cannot today gather, we are blessed with an even heightened sense of community and camaraderie. While this year the cemetery stands quiet under a blanket of rain, the surrounding homes are filled with those who’ve donned masks, volunteering their time or expertise to help usher us through these challenging times; those who’ve supported their friends and their local businesses; those who’ve filled their streets with the music emanating from their front porches.

Our men and women in uniform died to protect an America that perseveres, an America that unites, an America that innovates, an America that protects.

Today, we honor their sacrifice by being that America.

— By Olivia Olson

A 2018 graduate of Edmonds-Woodway High School, Olivia Olson just finished her sophomore year at USC, where she is working on a double major in Philosophy, Politics and Law and Economics. The winner of six consecutive VFW Post 8870 essay contests in middle school and high school, Olson spoke during Edmonds Memorial Day ceremonies from 2014-2018.


2 Replies to “Reader view: Heroism at home this Memorial Day”

  1. It’s wonderful to see your inspiring words, Olivia. What a thrill it was to be able to sponsor you during the many Patriot’s Pen and Voice of Democracy competitions you entered and won. You continue to make us proud.
    Jim Blossey
    Past Commander, 2014-2016
    Veterans of Foreign Wars, Edmonds Post 8870


  2. Thank you Olivia for reminding us about Memorial Day and the freedoms we enjoy today because of the sacrifices made by many to defend them. While the percentage of Americans who serve in our military is not as large as it once was, I am extremely grateful to those who are currently serving.


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