Annual 'Run to Tahoma' will honor deceased veterans

The annual celebration of life ceremony for The Unforgotten, Run to Tahoma will honor 21 unclaimed, deceased veterans and one veteran's widow with words and music on Saturday, May 25, at the Kitsap County Coroner's Office.

In addition, two surviving families have requested that their deceased parents be included; bringing the total to 23 veterans and two widows.

The Unforgotten, Run to Tahoma ceremony is sponsored by the Kitsap County Board of Commissioners, the Kitsap County Coroner's Office, the Kitsap County Veterans Advisory Board and Combat Veterans International, Chapter 5.

Twenty of the deceased have been recovered from the Coroner's Office section for unclaimed departed in Silverdale Community Cemetery.

There have been three ceremonies since 2008. The deceased veterans honored at those events had not been buried by the time of each service.

Following last year's Run to Tahoma, at the request of the county's veterans program, former Deputy Coroner John D'Agostino did an exhaustive records search of those interned in Silverdale prior to 2008 to see if any were veterans. D'Agostino submitted 54 individuals to the US Department of Veterans Affairs National Cemetery Scheduling Office (NCSO) to determine who would be eligible for internment at Tahoma National Cemetery. The NCSO approved 20 plus one widow of those buried in Silverdale. They were recovered last month.

Nine of the 25 departed are World War II era veterans; one served in WWII and Korea; eight Korean War era; one Viet Nam veteran; and four Cold War veterans. The deceased include at least one member from every service. Nine served in the Army; six in the Air Force; three in the Marine Corps; three in the Navy; one in the Coast Guard; and one in the Merchant Marine. Three of the departed are female: one WWII Army Private; one Navy widow and one Army widow.

The ceremony includes a prelude of classical and popular music from different eras played by the Duncan String Quartet. The Marine Security Battalion and Navy personnel from IMF Bangor are providing color and honor guards, respectfully. The 133rd US Army National Guard is providing a vocalist who will sing Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah," "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables" from "Les Miserable," "Ballad of the Green Berets" by Barry Sadler and the national anthem.

The event starts at 10:45 a.m. at the Kitsap County Coroner's Office located at 911 Carver Street, near Pendergast Park in West Bremerton. The Public is welcome. The event is outdoors. Attendees are encouraged to dress for the weather and bring their own seating. Coffee and doughnuts will be provided by the USO Mobile Canteen.

Following the ceremony, there will be a 30 minute break prior to departure to Tahoma National Cemetery. The departed will be carried in a vehicle donated by West Sound Auto Plex. The Run to Tahoma cortège will be guided by Elite Motor Escort, Inc. under the auspices of Combat Veterans International. Those who join the funeral procession are responsible for their own liability in case of accident or injury.


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