As I often do, I attended the annual Memorial Day service conducted at Grand View Cemetery by members of VFW and American Legion organizations. This year, however, I also visited the gravesite of my father, Buehl Berentson (pictured above at age 18 or 19). Dad, who died in November 2007, served in the U.S. Navy, Pacific Theatre, including time as a crewman on a “Liberty ship.” Like many from his generation, he didn’t talk much about his war experiences. There was exciting evidence of his service, however, including a set of dress blues and South Pacific treasures including a tribal war club and an alligator nut cracker. I am glad we talked in more detail about his military service just a year or so before his death. Obviously, the war played a major role in the direction this young man’s life would take. I am grateful that so many Americans like my Dad have answered the call to serve their nation … and other embattled nations … so that those of us “at home” might enjoy the personal freedoms we too often take for granted.
A fourth generation Skagit County native who was moved kicking and screaming from this island community in 1960. I finally reclaimed an Anacortes address in 1980, and I have been in constant celebration of my return since that time. Many of us who call Anacortes home love Fidalgo Island for its natural assets: among them are rugged beaches, pristine lakes, thousands of acres of forestland and some awesome views of the Skagit Valley and surrounding islands. Another element of my love affair with this community is its people, both natives and immigrants. They will “star” in many of my journal entries.
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