APPLE BLOSSOM FESTIVAL PARADE
FALLEN HEROES FLOAT & BANNERS
SATURDAY, MAY 4TH, 2019
Wenatchee Valley VFW Post 3617,
with the Washington State Chapter of Gold Star Families and the
Washington State Fallen Heroes Project
had their float,and local members of our Post,
as well as members from Grace City Church, , Costco, Coastal Farm & Ranch,
Boy Scouts, Local school students,Sports Groups and teams,
Civil Air Patrol, other Local Church Groups and private individuals,
including 90 Year Young Arlene Jones from East Wenatchee,
and her son from Spokane, helped display and carry ALL 320 available Banners
of Washington's Fallen Heroes.
As this was the 100th year of the Parade, and featured many previous Queens and Princesses.
it was especially meaningful for us to be able to display EVERY AVAILABLE Fallen Hero Banner.
The parade attendees, as in past years,
all stood, clapped or saluted, or placed their hand over their heart,
as more than 60 Rows of 5 banners each passed by.
The Post would like to extend their sincere gratitude to all who helped us
to achieve our goal of carrying every banner.
Below is a letter written May 5th, 2018
by Pastor Josh McPherson about his experience carrying a
Fallen Heroes Banner.
To Sgt. Jason Cole.
You didn't know me before you died, ….and I never met you.
But today our worlds came together for a few special moments on a street in Wenatchee,
and I am grateful.
You gave your life in the service of our country. Army, I believe.
Today, I carried your banner, along with my son, friends, and 275 strangers
who felt like family for a few moments as we somberly fulfilled our sacred assignment together.
As we walked I saw thousands upon thousands of people on a parade route rise to honor your memory.
Like a wave, they rose before you.
It was a 50-minute standing ovation, as we walked the route of the parade.
I saw men remove their hats. I saw men and women choke back tears.
I saw parents bend over and talk to their children, while pointing,
maybe explaining for the first time the definition of a "Gold Star Family".
And every so often, buried anonymously in the crowd,
I saw your fellow military brothers and sisters, standing at rigid attention, giving you a full salute.
But there was one particular moment that I found especially moving.
Just a few minutes into the parade, we came to a sudden stop.
Something about a marching band being judged up ahead......
so there we stood, in the middle of the street, surrounded by thousands of people, staring at each other.
The applause finally died down as people realized we weren't going anywhere for a while,
and then it was just silent.
"Well, this is lame", I thought. We're in a parade.... standing still. What happens now?
But then, something happened.
Maybe it was just me, but as time marched on and the marching band played and as we stood still,
the silence changed from awkward to reverent.
Not a single person spoke a word. Not a cellphone rang. Not a kid cried.
It was like everything just stopped, no one willing to be the first to break the reverent silence.
For a full 5 minutes (it felt like 10), we just stood, together, in honor of your memory.
Even as I write this, it doesn't do it justice.
But it was small town America at its finest, and it took your sacrifice to draw it out!
The "last measure of devotion" you and many others gave was so powerful
that it brought a diverse and raucous crowd to awed and reverent silence.
White, black, brown…. man, woman, child....
everyone united for a few short moments around the honoring of your sacrifice
and the remembering of what makes us great as a nation.
Sgt. Cole....you gave me, my son, and a small town in North Central Washington a gift today.
A reminder that just when you think our country is going down the toilet, small town America happens. That, just when you think division is our destiny, patriotism pops up and proves itself alive and well.
A reminder that I should spend a little less time judging our country through the lens of social media
(yes, I get the irony), and more through the lens of conversations with real people.
The latter is much more encouraging.
And yes, we still have some things to work on in this country. I'll be the first to acknowledge that.
But we get a lot of things right, too. And those things shouldn't get lost in the discussion.
And one of those things we got right is men and women like you.
I'm sure your family misses you desperately, and their ongoing sacrifice is not one I can fully fathom.
But I hope in some small way they can be encouraged today...
their son, husband, father, uncle, cousin, friend, though gone, is not forgotten.
So, thanks, Sgt. Cole. For choosing to serve. For training with vigor.
For serving with honor (I read up on you). For giving the ultimate sacrifice.
And for a few short minutes on Main Street small town America,
uniting thousands of people in a moment of patriotism, reverence, and reflection.
My son and I are better for it.
Washington State Fallen Heroes Receives
2018 Apple Blossom Festival First Place Special Unit Award
This is a tribute to the men and women from Washington State
that made the ultimate sacrifice during military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2002. The Washington State Fallen Heroes Project
was started by Kim Cole of Spokane Valley after her son,
Marine Corporal Darrel Morris, was killed by an IED in Bagdad Iraq in January 2007.
It is her wish that all of our Fallen Heroes from Washington State
be remembered for their duty to country and sacrifice for our freedom.