There will be tears, music and inspirational words during this weekend's Time of Remembrance ceremonies to honor the service members who have died fighting the war on terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan.
This year's ceremony is at 11 a.m. Sunday at Flat Top Park in West Richland and includes family and friends of almost 70 members of the military from Washington, Oregon and Idaho who have died.
The ceremony honors all branches of the armed forces -- Army, Army National Guard, Army Reserves, Marines, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard.
"We're honoring not just those who died overseas, but those who also died later," said Shirley Schmunk of Richland, who is organizing the event and whose son was killed in 2004.
"We're paying tribute to all military personnel who stood for God and country, who took the oath to protect and serve America," she said.
Members of the Yakima Warrior Association will open the ceremony with American Indian dances and drum music. Members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of Kennewick and Richland also plan to attend.
The keynote speaker will be Lourdes E. "Alfie" Alvarado-Ramos of Tacoma, director of the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs. After she speaks, the names of the fallen will be read.
"We have more than 750 from Washington state alone to read. We need to remember that these men and women were not drafted, not begged to serve, they volunteered," said Schmunk.
Schmunk organized the first Time of Remembrance ceremony in 2007, just a few years after her son, Army National Guard Spc. Jeremiah Schmunk, 20, died in Iraq on July 9, 2004.
On Saturday, a candlelight vigil for the fallen will be at 7:30 p.m. at the Regional Veterans Memorial at the east end of Columbia Park in Kennewick. There will be some candles available but Schmunk asks that participants bring their own to light.
Sunday also is National Gold Star Mothers Day, a time to honor the mothers of servicemen and women who have died in the line of duty.
Schmunk and her committee will be taking a busload of mothers to the City View Cemetery at 7 a.m. Sunday to the Gold Star Mothers memorial.
For more information on the weekend events, go to www.timeofremembrance.org.
-- Loretto J. Hulse: 582-1513; firstname.lastname@example.org