They will not be forgotten

May 31, 2018

It was Memorial Day of 2014 when Army Veteran and Mill Creek resident Fred Fillbrook’s Memorial Day parade dream came turn.

On Memorial Day the yearly question seems to be “What do I say? “Have a Happy Memorial Day?” or should it be “Have a good reflective day”?

Mill Creek’s traditional Reflexive Day started off at the Mill Creek City Veteran’s Monument with the opening remarks by Lieutenant Colonel Jon Ramer USAF (RET) and then it concluded with a TAPS salute bugled out by Glacier Peak High School Student Corban Epps.

After the participants laid their red carnations around the monument all were dismissed but were encouraged to attend the 4th Annual Mill Creek Memorial Parade.

This year’s Parade Grand Marshal was 92-year-old USAF Retired One Star General William G. Hathaway. This veteran Of World War II first served in the US Army’s Air Corps, but later transferred into and then retired from United States Air Force.

What were some of the words which came from some of the Veterans who are doing their part to make sure “They will never be forgotten”?

85-year-old Marine Corps Veteran William D. (Pete) Hale, who received two Purple Hearts and the first being on his 9-11 (1951) day, didn’t wish to focus of his role in the longest war (no peace treaty was ever signed). Rather he wanted to talk about his Marine Corp friend and fellow warrior, Cpl.  Spenser Weller Hutsenpiller who was Killed In Action (KIA) due to “an airborne motor attack”. Then rightly so this Korean War hero did just that, he talked and talked about his friend Spenser.

Paul Frederickson, Veteran and Commander of the newly formed Mill Creek American Veterans (AMVETS) remarked; “The parade was great and seemed well received by the crowd. … Memorial Day is a time for reflection, respect for, and remembrance of our veterans who lost their lives in the service of our country.  I think of my two high school classmates Jerry Anderson and Dan Patrick. I think of my pilot Lt. Robert Zukowski.  All three were lost during Vietnam.”

“I think about those Veterans who died and who continue to die from the effects of war years after returning home… how tragic and wasteful war is. We must never forget them!”

Frederickson went onto praise that “This parade happened (and) it was all of the veterans and volunteers who were on the advisory committee who started the first Memorial Day parade... Jon Ramer did an excellent job. We have some great talent in Mill Creek and I am proud to be a part of this city.”

Roy Skagen, a long time Mill Creek resident and a Marine Corp veteran, appreciation for Memorial Day started early in his youth.

“As a young lad I recalled attending my first UW football game. When it was time to stand for the large flag that was unfurled and our National Anthem, two young men in front of me were horse playing, laughing and paying no attention to the event.

When the Anthem ended, an elderly gentleman with a cane confronted the two rowdy youngsters and told them in a firm voice, ‘Hey, show some respect! I fought in the war and lost buddies who died for that flag. The old man had tears in his eyes. The two boys got wide eyed and apologized. “

Veteran Skagen went on to say: “ … (I) will never forget that moment…and to me that is what the day is about…not forgetting those that paid the ultimate price to protect our freedoms.”

Yes, not only on Memorial and Veterans Day, it is every day we must keep Anderson, Hutsenpiller, Patrick, Zukowski and the more than a million other men and women who gave their last breath for our country in our mind and in our history books.

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