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Traditional Memorial Day ceremony included island-crafted cannon

The granite Memorial Monument has witnessed decades of Memorial Day ceremonies in its 102 years, but the 2023 ceremony ended with a first. A loud first. 

Shannon Plummer demonstrates to interested children that the cannon is now cool to the touch.

The cannon used to signal the end of the ceremony was built as an exact replica of the cannons in use during the Pig War era. The famous "War" where the only casualty was the pig. Longtime islander Rick Galer led the effort with plenty of help from Ron Garner and Battery D. The cannon won a grand prize at the county fair and then ended up stored in a building at the San Juan Island National Historical Park. 

Peter DeLorenzi played Taps

According to Lynda Guernsey who has portrayed the Lady in Black at the Memorial Day ceremony for more than two decades- representing all the women serving in wars and all the widows - the cannon was cleaned up by volunteers and the National Park staff donated it to American Legion Post 163. Army veteran Shannon Plummer set off the cannon as the final notes of U.S. Marine veteran Peter DeLorenzi's Taps faded away. 

Members of American Legion Post 163, the Auxiliary, Boy Scouts marched down Spring Street to Memorial Park. 

Ed Wilson, third from right, sang the National Anthem.

The poem, Flanders Field, was recited.

Town of Friday Harbor Mayor spoke.

Children threw flowers into the bay in remembrance of those who died at sea.

1 comment

  • Mike Vouri Tuesday, 30 May 2023 12:16 Comment Link Report

    Dear friends: I am almost certain the cannon was donated to the Legion by Battery D, the volunteer organization that, under state charter, supported the living history activities of the national historical park during my tenure as chief of interpretation. In addition to Rick Galer’s work on the gun carriage, the wagon wheels were assembled from scratch by Battery D under the supervision of then-Ranger Ron Garner, who remains a volunteer of the park. The gun was a tremendous source of pride for park volunteers and I am pleased it has found a home. Very best. Mike

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