Memorial Day weekend hearkens us to enjoy time with our families, break out the barbecue, go shopping, and maybe catch up on that yard work or home projects we never seem to get to. Kind of like Christmas, we often forget the true meaning for this holiday.

I am guilty like many of us, but this year I was blessed to be part of two very meaningful activities that reminded me – Our Vets deserve our heartfelt appreciation and love. Our departed Vets deserve recognition and remembrance as well as deep respect for their ultimate sacrifice and the fruits of their efforts.

On Sunday, the Boy Scouts of Port Townsend invited me to accompany them and help place flags on the graves of our departed soldiers. To be honest, I was surprised by the gravity of this activity. It was with solemn respect that the troop meandered over the two graveyards we visited, planting flags at the graves of every service person they could find. There were many.

I found myself reading the gravestones as I placed the flags, and wondered what it was like for them. The many veterans of the two World Wars lay at rest in these hallowed grounds. They take these secrets with them into their peaceful repose. How can we ever thank them for saving us from the fascist dictators that threatened our good country? In prayer I shared my thoughts with many of these fine people, and asked the Lord to bless their families.

On Monday, I was invited along with candidate Jim McEntire (running for seat 2 House of Representatives – I am running for seat 1) to join with a small ceremony at the grave site of Marvin Shields, Medal of Honor recipient from Port Townsend and laid to rest in Gardiner, near Sequim WA. You can read his story here:

I met his wife Joan, who was in her early 20’s with a small daughter at the time of her husband’s death. There is not a more gracious woman than Joan. She took me under her wing and introduced me to many of the veterans and friends who were there.

As we greeted one another, I learned there was a small group of volunteers who cared for this small cemetery. There was also a contingent of men from the “SeaBees” acronym for C.B. or Construction Battalion. These men were responsible for construction projects that were integral to our military forces, both abroad and at home.

The men of the VFW held the ceremony in honor of Shields and for all of the other fallen veterans. They represented well, and one member played a solemn Taps, which gave me goosebumps. I was able to avoid the tears…

I will always remember this ceremony, I admit it was the first of its kind for me – other than my uncle Pete’s funeral so many years ago. But that was to honor him, and this was to honor Marvin Shields and all of his fallen brothers and sisters. It was a very moving experience.

I want to thank everyone who made this Memorial Day weekend so special for me. It has changed my perception of this holiday forever.

God Bless America!


Jodi Wilke

Your Candidate for District 24 Representative
Washington State House of Representatives