Memorial Day gathering draws loved ones to Ridgecrest Cemetery

The family of Captain Charlie Guinn gathers together at the Bethel Ridgecrest Cemetery on Memorial Day.

by Greg Lincoln

The Memorial Day Ceremony in Bethel was held at the resting place of dearly departed Captain Charlie Guinn. Captain Guinn served in the Alaska Territorial Guard.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10041 conducted the service with members of the Guinn Family gathered around the gravesite. Folks visiting their loved ones at their graves paused to gather in for the ceremony.

The weather was beautiful and warm, one of the most hottest days of summer so far that Bethel has had. Those that were there were busy cleaning and clearing brush and debris at their family’s grave plots. Folks walked around chatting with each other and checking the crosses to read the names of those that have passed on, and to pray.

Later on in the day some cool, refreshing rain fell to drench the dry parched land.

The BRHS Color Guard led the march of VFW Post members to the cemetery. The attending officers included Sr. Vice Commander Joel Bowles, Officer of the Day Robert Lindsey, Jr. Vice Commander Jim Wyckoff, Chaplain Buck Bukowski, and Ladies Auxiliary member Tess Guinn.

“As long as two comrades survive – so long will the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States render tribute to our heroic dead,” said Sr. Vice Commander Bowles. “On this day, forever consecrated to our heroic dad, we are assembled once again to express sincere reverence. This grave represents the resting place of many departed comrades who served in all wars. Wherever the body of a comrade lies there the ground is hallowed.”

Each officer placed a token of solemnity upon the grave while saying a few words.

“On behalf of the Auxiliary to the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, I place this emblem of eternity. It’s color bespeaks life everlasting,” said Tess Guinn. “Thus do we immortalize the brave deeds of our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines who have given their lives on land, on sea, and in the air.”

To conclude the ceremony, Matthew Hunter played “Taps” on his bugle. Community members were invited to have a bite to eat at the Post headquarters to refresh themselves while they socialized and enjoyed each others company. The Post prepared delicious grilled hotdogs for their guests.

“Our presence here is in solemn commemoration of all these men – an expression of our tribute to their devotion to duty, to their courage and patriotism. By their services…they have made us debtors – for the flag of our nation still flies over a land of free people.”