SEQUIM — This tribute to veterans is coming a bit early.
General George Washington and Continental soldier reenactors will bring their 18th-century stories and messages to Sequim youths at a special, free event for youngsters in grades 1-3 along with their parents at 1 p.m. Saturday at the George Washington Inn, 939 Finn Hall Road, between Sequim and Port Angeles.
Sequim resident Vern Frykholm, who portrays Washington, and Seabeck resident Fred Gilbert, who depicts ancestor Sgt. John Gilbert, offer “Our Nation’s First Veterans,” a 30-minute presentation about the expectations Washington had for how a country should treat its veterans and what it means to be a veteran.
Frykholm, who has portrayed Washington at various events over the past 8½ years, said he typically is able to relate stories and anecdotes during his half-hour classroom talks.
“Generally speaking I’ll talk about character and how they treat each other,” Frykholm said. “They want to know, ‘What was it like?’ I share about how lucky they are lucky to come to school, that ‘When I was a boy, we didn’t have schools.’ Or what it was like to be on a farm or a plantation.
“It’s totally relational, mostly about character, (about) treating each other well.”
On Oct. 24, Frykholm said, he’s cut down his presentation to just 7 or 8 minutes for time (and possible cooler weather) to focus on what it means to be a veteran, while Gilbert will talk about what it was a like as a Continental soldier. Frykholm, as Washington, will give Gilbert a medal for his service. Later on, youths will get coins to commemorate the event.
The event includes drummers and fifers. A prize drawing will be held and the winner will be announced by General George Washington at the end of his presentation.
“It’s going to be short and sweet,” Frykholm said.
Safety, caution advised
All children must be accompanied by a parent, guardian or other adult.
Attendees are advised to bring their own lawn chairs or blankets and are required to wear face masks and practice social distance during the presentation. Since there are no outdoor restroom facilities at the site, families are asked to come prepared.
“We want to celebrate, but we also want to do masks and social distancing,” Frykholm said. Both he and Gilbert will be wearing clear face screens so children can see the figures they’re portraying.
“We’re trying to make this celebratory as well as face-to-face,” Frykholm said. “Hopefully next year we won’t have these precautions.”
The program is sponsored by The George Washington Inn and the Michael Trebert Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR).