Lake Stevens Journal - Your hometown newspaper since 1960


By Pam Stevens
Managing Editor 

Locals say thanks to military on Armed Forces Day


May 21, 2013

Dozens of Lake Stevens’ residents joined with American Legion Post 181 and the Women’s Auxiliary on Saturday, May 18 in celebration of Armed Forces Day.

The group gathered at the War Memorial in downtown Lake Stevens at noon to enjoy barbequed hot dogs, great company and a flyover by the Blackjacks, a pilots group based in Arlington, Wash.

The Blackjacks flew in formation over the War Memorial and then flew The Missing Man Formation where one of the pilots pulls up, out of formation, and flies toward the heavens symbolizing the person who has been lost. This maneuver is flown to honor missing comrades.

Armed Forces Day was established on August 31, 1949 and the effort was led by President Harry S. Truman who wanted to create a single holiday for all branches of the military to be honored by American citizens.

“We come together every year to honor military personnel who are currently serving,” American Legion Post 181 Commander Tom Thorleifson explained. “Although every branch of the military has their own birthday, this day brings them all together.”

Currently there are dozens of families living in Lake Stevens who have a family member on active duty on the U.S.S. Nimitz. This made the Armed Forces Day celebration particularly poignant.

“It’s especially important this year because the Nimitz has been deployed and we have many of the families living here in Lake Stevens,” Thorleifson said.

Those family and friends were encouraged to sign a huge banner thanking those serving on the Nimitz. It will be sent to the ship this week. The group photo will also be sent to Lake Stevens residents currently deployed.

The members of the American Legion Post 181 are once again planning their annual Memorial Day celebration which will take place on Monday, May 27 beginning at 8 a.m. at the War Memorial in downtown Lake Stevens.

They will then have a small ceremony at the Machias Cemetery located at 135th Ave. SE and 12th St. SE in Snohomish, just off of Machias Rd. They will begin at noon.

Retired Navy Officer Aletha Tatge will be speaking at both ceremonies. There will also be a full service to include a 21-gun salute and the playing of “Taps.”

For more information regarding Memorial Day or American Legion Post 181 email Commander Thorleifson at


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