Bell-ringing, bagpipes, bowed heads mark veterans' passing at Port Angeles ceremony
Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News (click on photo to enlarge)
Color guard members Spec. Samantha Cantrell, left, and Spec. Stephen Fujita, both from the Army National Guard at Camp Murray (located between Tacoma and Olympia), display the flag during a folding ceremony Friday at Veterans Park in Port Angeles.
Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
Gary Velie of the American Legion Riders rings the Liberty Bell replica as the names of Clallam County veterans who died the previous month are called out.
Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
Mary Bower, right, is presented with the American flag by Army National Guard Spec. Stephen Fujita in honor of her late husband, Michael Jon Bower, an Army veteran.
Bagpiper Thomas McCurdy performs “Amazing Grace” at Friday’s bell-ringing ceremony.
Peninsula Daily News file photo (1997)
By John Brewer
Peninsula Daily News
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The bell sounded a second later, clear and solemnly.
Walter Lee Armer . . .
Wilbur Wright Claplanhoo Jr. . . .
James Nicholas Dougherty . . .
Fred William Eckenberg . . .
The replica of the Liberty Bell in Port Angeles' Veterans Park on Lincoln Street next to the Clallam County Courthouse rang after each name, its deep sound spreading through the crowd of 70 bowed heads — friends, relatives, members of the public.
Twenty-seven names were read Friday at this month's memorial for Clallam County veterans who died in June.
The veterans memorial, which lasts an emotional 15 to 20 minutes, is held rain or shine in the park the last Friday of every month.
The names of the previous month's deceased are read, their military background is often noted — at least five of the 27 on Friday were World War II vets — and the Liberty Bell replica is rung after each name.
There is a flag folding and presentation to a family member of a fallen veteran.
A three-volley gun salute is fired by members of the Marine Corps League.
A bagpiper — Thomas McCurdy, a Port Angeles eye doctor — plays “Amazing Grace.”
And then Taps by a bugler — 24 notes, a simple 150-year-old melody that expresses our gratitude when words fail.
The ceremony is presided over by members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Korean War Veterans Association and is ringed by a line of American flags held by American Legion Riders in leather motorcycle jackets covered with patriotic patches.
Clallam County has about one veteran for every seven residents, one of the highest ratios in the state.
Port Angeles may be the only town in Washington state with these stirring monthly public ceremonies — they've been going on for years — and one of only a handful nationwide.
Dennis Lester Houk . . .
Ralph Stanley Iredale . . .
William Edward Irvine . . .
Won the Silver Star
Arthur James Judd . . .
Former Army Staff Sgt. Art Judd was No. 20 on Friday's alphabetical list of veterans.
A Port Angeles resident, he died of a stroke June 8, a month short of his 94th birthday.
A paratrooper, he served from 1942 to the end of World War II in 1945, much of that time with the 457th Parachute Field Artillery Battalion, 11th Airborne Division.
He won the Silver Star, one of the highest U.S. military decorations for valor, fighting the Japanese in the Philippines.
He also participated in the rescue of 2,147 men, women and children who were being held as prisoners of war outside Manila.
Intelligence reports stated that all of the prisoners were to be killed the next day by the retreating Japanese.
Judd was among the first Allied troops to land in Japan after the atomic bombs.
He married his wife, Berniece, on Sept. 25, 1943, in Shakopee, Minn., before he was sent overseas.
They were married for nearly 67 years when she died at 94 in 2010.
After he was mustered out of the Army, they had traveled to Washington state in a 1931 Oldsmobile, towing a small canvas-covered trailer.
They raised two sons and a daughter. Judd worked as a printer and pressman in the Seattle area for more than 40 years and was a volunteer firefighter.
Could fix anything
After retiring to Port Angeles in 1987, he became an unpaid worker for Volunteer Hospice of Clallam County and a member of its board of directors.
He could fix anything, from donated wheelchairs to hospital beds.
He was also a volunteer for CHORE, a program that provides assistance to disabled, elderly and low-income residents.
He drove patients to doctors' appointments and helped them with home maintenance and yard work.
In addition, he volunteered with the American Cancer Society and spent seven years with Clallam County Search and Rescue.
He was one of the recipients of the 1997 Clallam County Community Service Award, the top honor for outstanding volunteer work.
On April 26, 1994, Judd — still athletic at age 73 — was part of a rescue team that saved a youth who fell at Striped Peak near Joyce.
Later, the “Rescue 911” TV show came out to re-enact the event.
A stuntman was to play the part of Judd, who had rappelled down the face of the cliff and then brought up the teen.
The stuntman turned out to be afraid of heights.
The former paratrooper, now a senior citizen, stepped in to act his own part for the TV cameras.
But Judd was no daredevil. He never took his missions — in the Army or as a rescue worker — lightly.
“If you're not scared, you're stupid,” he said.
Judd always encouraged others to volunteer in the community.
“We get back more than we give,” he said.
And all it takes, he'd say with a shrug, is “just a caring nature.”
PDN Publisher-Editor John Brewer can be reached at 360-417-3500 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last modified: July 27. 2014 10:03AM