Centralia Fireside Guard

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Centralia-area veterans, friends, commemorate Memorial Day

Posted on Thursday, June 4, 2020 at 6:48 am

The azure and cream sky contrasted with the 30 full-sized red white and blue flags waving overhead.

Gary Pillaschafske speaking about national togetherness

The well fed green grass of the Glendale and Centralia City Cemeteries also made the 300 smaller flags on each side of Hwy. 22 grab the eye.

The 30 or so people sitting on folding chairs and golf carts on the north side of the Centralia Cemetery had plenty of room to comfortably adhere to social distancing recommendations. Which they did in order to better listen to Brenda Kehl play taps and Kylee Chrisman sing the “Star Spangled Banner” during the opening moments of Centralia’s annual Memorial Day ceremony.

Commander Gary Pillaschafske delivered the key note speech.

Looking at the COVID-19 curtailed crowd, Pillaschafske talked about how he learned teamwork during the Vietnam war and suggested those were lessons that revisiting and applying today would do the United States of America some good.

He apologized for the Avenue of Flags not flying and said he would make no further reference to “the virus.” Pillaschafske, who as a member of the United States Air Force, served during the Vietnam War, as well as alongside Titan missiles, siloed around Tucson, Az.

“The missiles were Titan IIs. Still to this day the most powerful nuclear diver system we have every had. In the area around Tucson alone, there were enough warheads mounted on missiles to obliterate the entire population of Russia and China. We weren’t alone.”

There was a lesson to be learned from that, he said.

Ray Gordon holding the flag.

For the complete article see this week’s edition of the Centralia Fireside Guard