Legion, VFW console veterans

ARLINGTON — The scene downtown Tuesday was repeated throughout small-town America on Veterans Day.

Roughly 300 people lined both sides of Olympic Avenue to clap while the town’s veterans filed by. The Arlington High School Band played "God Bless America" and "America the Beautiful," closing with a trumpet solo of taps.

"It’s nice to acknowledge those people, because they went through holy hell," said Ken Casperson, an Arlington member of the Bothell-based Puget Sound Military Vehicle Collectors Club, which drove vintage military jeeps, trucks and scout cars in the parade.

Like many places, the public celebration here is a familiar ritual that has been carried out in Arlington for roughly 50 years, said Jim Barron, commander of Arlington’s American Legion Post 76.

But after the public heads home, a more private ritual for the veterans begins as many of them convene at their local American Legion or Veterans of Foreign Wars halls.

The American Legion has at least seven halls in Snohomish County and vicinity, plus a few VFW halls.

Arlington’s Legion is headquartered on Olympic Avenue, right at the end of the parade route. The hall features a dimly lit lounge with a bar and several tables. A few have bright lights hanging over them, as does the pool table near the front.

Mary Fikes, the post’s former commander, said she feels a sense of security and peace when she walks through the door.

"It’s a home to come to," Fikes said. "It’s a sanctuary in a way."

Post commander Jim Barron agreed.

"It brings all vets together," Barron said. "It’s a camaraderie."

Indeed, the clack of balls at the pool table came from a game that united vets from different generations. Retired Navy Seabee Donald Becktell, commander of Arlington’s VFW Post 1561, was taking on Petty Officer 3rd Class Larry DeCandia of the USS Abraham Lincoln.

"We get to visit with people we haven’t seen for a while," Barron said. "A lot don’t come to the lounge very often. A lot aren’t even members of our post."

After each parade, the post’s auxiliary club — usually wives of veterans — prepares a meal and invites all vets to join in. Before Tuesday’s meal, the Arlington vets took a moment, as they always do, to honor prisoners of war and those missing in action by leaving a table space empty and lighting a candle.

"We do make everybody remember, we just mustn’t forget the POW/MIAs," Barron said.

Reporter Scott Morris: 425-339-3292 or smorris@heraldnet.com.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Emergency responders surround an ultralight airplane that crashed Friday, Sept. 22, 2023, at the Arlington Municipal Airport in Arlington, Washington, resulting in the pilot's death. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Pilot dead in ultralight plane crash at Arlington Municipal Airport

There were no other injuries or fatalities reported, a city spokesperson said.

An example of the Malicious Women Co. products (left) vs. the Malicious Mermaid's products (right). (U.S. District Court in Florida)
Judge: Cheeky candle copycat must pay Snohomish company over $800K

The owner of the Malicious Women Co. doesn’t expect to receive any money from the Malicious Mermaid, a Florida-based copycat.

A grave marker for Blaze the horse. (Photo provided)
After Darrington woman’s horse died, she didn’t know what to do

Sidney Montooth boarded her horse Blaze. When he died, she was “a wreck” — and at a loss as to what to do with his remains.

A fatal accident the afternoon of Dec. 18 near Clinton ended with one of the cars involved bursting into flames. The driver of the fully engulfed car was outside of the vehicle by the time first responders arrived at the scene. (Whidbey News-Times/Submitted photo)
Driver sentenced in 2021 crash that killed Everett couple

Danielle Cruz, formerly of Lynnwood, gets 17½ years in prison. She was impaired by drugs when she caused the crash that killed Sharon Gamble and Kenneth Weikle.

A person walks out of the Everett Clinic on Thursday, Sept. 7, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
The Everett Clinic changing name to parent company Optum in 2024

The parent company says the name change will not affect quality of care for patients in Snohomish County.

Tirhas Tesfatsion (GoFundMe) 20210727
Lynnwood settles for $1.7 million after 2021 suicide at city jail

Jail staff reportedly committed 16 safety check violations before they found Tirhas Tesfatsion, 47, unresponsive in her cell.

A person walks in the rain at the Port of Everett in Everett, Washington on Saturday, Sept. 23, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
First heavy rain event predicted Sunday night for Snohomish County

Starting Sunday evening, 1 to 1½ inches of rain is expected in western Washington. It marks the end of fire season, meteorologists said.

Logo for news use featuring Whidbey Island in Island County, Washington. 220118
Clinton man, 61, dies in motorcycle crash Friday

Washington State Patrol lists speed as the cause. No other people or vehicles were involved.

Inside the new Boeing 737 simulator at Simulation Flight in Mukilteo, Washington on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
New Boeing 737 simulator takes ‘flight’ in Mukilteo

Pilots can test their flying skills or up their game at Simulation Flight in Mukilteo.

Most Read