Sixty-six bells rang out on Honeysuckle Beach Monday morning as veterans, children and a few dogs looked on.
The Laying of the Wreath ceremony, part of Hayden’s Memorial Day observance, commemorates the submarines and crew members lost at sea since the beginning of the U.S. military.
It follows a procedure established after World War II called the Tolling of the Boats, and recognizes servicemen who aren’t often discussed, those “who guard our country while serving silently under the sea,” said Jerry Parker, the master of ceremonies.
Parker joined five other submarine veterans to read the list of the 66 vessels lost in chronological order, while detailing the fate of the crew on board.
“USS Shark, SS-174, lost with all hands, 59 men on 11 February, 1942,” one entry read.
Most crewmen, some 4,000 people, went down with their submarines. Some were captured as prisoners of war. A handful were rescued and survived.
The honor of ringing the bell belongs to 98-year-old Tom DePew, a World War II veteran who earned his submarine qualification in 1944. He served on four vessels, including the USS Barracuda, and is a lifelong member of the U.S. Submarine Veterans, which was created after World War II.
The ceremony ends with a wreath-laying on the lake as a trumpeter plays taps. The wreath honors every soldier who died at sea, whether in the Army, Navy or Air Force or U.S. Marines.
The Hayden Veterans’ Commission sponsors the event, and the veterans go on to a general Memorial Day ceremony at Hayden City Hall following the beach memorial.
“We thank you for those brave young men who lost their lives to keep freedom alive for all,” said chaplain Jenny DePew.
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