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Paying homage

A family walks among the graves at Crescent City's cemetery. Crowds turned out to honor their deceased loved ones during annual Memorial Day ceremonies held in and around Crescent City yesterday. (Jennifer Henion/The Daily Triplicate).
A family walks among the graves at Crescent City's cemetery. Crowds turned out to honor their deceased loved ones during annual Memorial Day ceremonies held in and around Crescent City yesterday. (Jennifer Henion/The Daily Triplicate).

By Jennifer Henion

Triplicate staff writer

Amid a thousand flags flapping at Crescent City's cemetery yesterday, Adrienne Anthony wore red, white and blue along with her mother Norma Blancher, to pay homage to their patriotic father and husband.

The two attended the Memorial Day ceremony put on faithfully for the past 30 years or more.

"He was very patriotic. A U.S. Navy veteran who died on the Fourth of July a few years ago," said Anthony about her father Gaylen Blancher.

Anthony's son Christopher, is now serving in the U.S. Airforce.

The annual Memorial Day ceremony began at 10 a.m., yesterday under sunshine with warm breezes.

"We had a good crowd and good weather this year," said Sarah Sampels, a Del Norte County Supervisor and a U.S. Army veteran who read the 1915 war poem "In Flanders Fields" by John McCrae for the crowd.

Sitting on the back of an ambulance at the 1915 battle in Belgium, McCrae drafted the poem which ends with the following stanza.

"Take up our quarrel with the foe: To you from failing hands we throw the torch; be yours to hold it high. If ye break faith with us who die, We shall not sleep, though poppies grow in Flanders Fields."

To this day, poppies are used to signify the memory of veterans who died in war. Sampels noted that poppies only grow and flower in soil that has been turned over or churned up, such as that on a fresh grave.

Sampels has participated in the Memorial Day services here for 29 years, along with other local veterans Bob Cochran who sings patriotic songs, Gerald Cochran who lights the eternal flame and Jerry Johnson, the long time Master of Ceremonies on behalf of the local VFW Hall.

"I'd like to see a time when we don't have veterans anymore. A day when we don't use violence and solve our problems with diplomacy," said Johnson.

Many lingered at the cemetery after the ceremony to groom the graves of their loved ones. Some crouched to say prayers and some cried over the tombstones.

At noon, the procession moved to the VFW Hall on H Street for a luncheon.

Then at 1 p.m., family and friends of deceased fishermen met at the Crescent City Harbor Fishermen's Memorial to remember those they lost.

 


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