Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5559 junior vice commander David Carroll, nearer, and post service officer Tom Armstrong, further, salute during a Memorial Day ceremony at Evergreen Cemetery on May 31, 2021. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)

Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5559 junior vice commander David Carroll, nearer, and post service officer Tom Armstrong, further, salute during a Memorial Day ceremony at Evergreen Cemetery on May 31, 2021. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)

Rain does little to dampen larger-than-usual Memorial Day ceremony

Many gathered at Evergreen Cemetery to honor America’s war dead.

A dismal day didn’t intrude on the solemnity of the holiday as the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5559 honored the dead during a ceremony at Evergreen Cemetery.

A sizable crowd attended the ceremony as a Coast Guard color guard displayed the colors in the steady rain.

“It’s an honor to do it,” said VFW quartermaster Dan McCrummen in an interview. “It’s our duty of us veterans surviving to remember those who didn’t come home with us.”

“The crowd was much bigger than I expected,” McCrummen said.

A Coast Guard color guard parades the colors at a Memorial Day ceremony held by the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5559 at Evergreen Cemetery on May 31, 2021. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)

A Coast Guard color guard parades the colors at a Memorial Day ceremony held by the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5559 at Evergreen Cemetery on May 31, 2021. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)

The ceremony was temporarily suspended last year due to pandemic concerns, but McCrummen said the post had worked with local radio stations to put the word out this year.

“We’ve been doing this for more years than I’ve been here,” McCrummen said. “A lot of people just know that it happens.”

[Remembering the fallen: Rain doesn’t keep Memorial Day observers away]

Randy Ruaro, acting chief of staff for the governor’s office, spoke at the ceremony, honoring a Vietnam veteran he had known growing up in Ketchikan. Ruaro also spoke briefly about Senior Chief Petty Officer Shannon Kent, an intelligence specialist killed in a suicide bombing in Syria in 2019.

“She didn’t have to go on that mission, but she did anyway to help our country,” Ruaro said. “Veterans are super important to ourcommunity.”

Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5559 quartermaster Dan McCrummen salutes the wreath laid at the foot of the flagpole during a Memorial Day ceremony at Evergreen Cemetery on May 31, 2021. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)

Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5559 quartermaster Dan McCrummen salutes the wreath laid at the foot of the flagpole during a Memorial Day ceremony at Evergreen Cemetery on May 31, 2021. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)

Memorial Day is about honoring those who went off to foreign places the service and the country and didn’t return, said David Carroll, VFW junior vice commander.

“This isn’t about us, it’s for them,” Carroll said. “Each year there are more names on that list. And for those who came home but lost their battle later.”

• Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at (757) 621-1197 or mlockett@juneauempire.com.

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