Monday, May 31, is Memorial Day, the day reserved to honor the memories of those who served our country in uniform, particularly those lost in the line of duty.
It is also an opportunity to make new memories and explore the stories of those who died and were laid to rest in Tri-City cemeteries.
In honor of the holiday, the Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business news team explored cemeteries in Richland, Kennewick and Pasco, where they visited graves of veterans who served in wars as far back as the American Civil War and the Spanish-American War. The attached video highlights a few markers and names that caught their attention.
Pasco’s City View Cemetery, which dedicates its new Veterans Wall on Memorial Day, is always a worthy destination with its ample sections dedicated to veterans and its intriguing gravestones.
Perhaps none is more intriguing than the marker that notes the original resting place for Jesse T. Barrick. Barrick served in the Army during the Civil War and received the Medal of Honor in 1912 for his gallantry in capturing two “desperate” and well-armed guerrilla officers during action around Fort Heiman, Tennessee, in 1863.
He was buried at City View in an unmarked grave after dying – possibly indigent – in Pasco on Nov. 3, 1923, at 82, having migrated west as a fur trader.
A community effort to recognize the Medal of Honor winner led to Barrick’s remains being reinterred – with honors – at Tahoma National Cemetery in Kent alongside his wife – another military veteran. A marker under a U.S. flag notes his connection to City View.
City View is also the final resting space for Walter Nelson “Whimpy” Jones, a Pasco man who died Oct. 3, 2004, and whose nickname sent the team to Google to find out more.
Mr. Jones’ moniker appears to have been a nod to his anything-but-wimpy war record, like when a tall man is nicknamed “Shorty.”
According to his obituary, Jones left Pasco High School in 1941 to enlist in the Navy and participated in some of the fiercest fighting of World War II.
After basic training in San Diego, he was assigned to the USS Northampton, a heavy cruiser with 8-inch guns based at Pearl Harbor that saw extensive combat across the Pacific Theater before it was sunk in 1942. Jones’ obituary notes it received battle stars for the battles of Midway and the Philippine Sea, for escorting Doolittle’s Raid on Tokyo, the invasions of Okinawa, Philippines Islands, Guam, Iwo Jima and more.
After the war, he came home, finished high school, married and went to work at Hanford. A few years later, he was recalled to active duty during the Korean conflict.
In Richland, the team visited on Resthaven Cemetery, a modest and easy-to-miss cemetery off Williams Boulevard. It too holds the remains of many veterans and pioneers.
A weathered marker honors two soldiers in their 20s killed in action in France in 1918, Pvts. Elmer F. Lindskog and Frank A. Dresser, both of Richland.
It found the Dunn family plot as well, recalling several World War II veterans.
An obituary for Maynard Dunn notes he enlisted in the U.S. Navy at 17 and served in the Pacific until he was discharged in 1946. He moved to Richland where he was employed by General Electric at Hanford.
He would live in Richland on an off and died Jan. 14, 2003, at age 76 in California.
Across each cemetery there were markers for veterans who served in World Wars I and II, in Korea, in Vietnam, in the Gulf and even in Grenada, each one poignant in its own way.
This Memorial Day weekend, the Journal of Business encourages those with a love of history and respect for those who preceded us to wander the area’s cemeteries.
Take photos. Look up obituaries. Marvel at their rich experiences, their service to their country and the lives of people who called our little stretch of the Mid-Columbia home during their lifetimes and who were commemorated here after their deaths.
If you need more inspiration, local cemeteries have plenty going on over the busy weekend.
City View Cemetery, 1300 N. Oregon Ave., Pasco, will dedicate its new Veterans Wall, a flag-lined monument on the east side of the city-owned cemetery.
The program begins at 11 a.m. and includes a dedication by Mayor Pro-Tem Blanche Barajas, a speech by former KNDU-TV weatherman and veteran Tim Adams, a poem read by Capt. Murrell Petry and an invocation by Pastor Jerry Carter of the Richland Church of the Nazarene.
Sunset Gardens, 915 Bypass Highway, Richland, honors veterans with its annual Avenue of Flags display on Monday. Memorial Day ceremonies begin at 11 a.m. by the cemetery’s lake. Visitors will be treated to hotdogs, a drink and bagpipe music.
Guests are asked to voluntarily comply with Covid-19 precautions.
Desert Lawn Memorial Park, 1401 S. Union, Kennewick, contains more than 11,000 graves, including 3,000 military veterans. Boy Scout troops 126 and 2020 will place U.S. flags on all 3,000 starting Saturday, May 29.
The Memorial Day program begins at 11 a.m. when three veterans from Rattlesnake Mountain Skydiving parachute into the cemetery trailing a star-spangled banner. The program includes a reading of the names of veterans who were interred at Desert Lawn in both 2020-21 since the 2020 program could not be held because of pandemic restrictions. The roster includes 87 people who died last year and 74 this year.
VFW Post 5785 will present a rifle salute and cemetery staff will lay wreathes. The cemetery will inaugurate its new Veterans Wall, where the names of veterans are engraved. The original, constructed in 1997, ran out of room last year.
No program is planned this year.
Riverview Heights, 1200 S. Olympia, is operated by Mueller’s Funeral Homes, which is holding formal ceremonies at Desert Lawn Memorial Park (see above), which is about a mile away. The cemetery welcomes assistance placing flags on the graves of veterans.
Prosser Cemetery, 1601 Paterson Road, has unconfirmed plans for a gun salute at 10 a.m. Monday. This story will be updated when the program is confirmed.
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