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Three happenings honor service men and women

Fifty patriotic-themed quilts, such as the one above, are part of the show Quilted in Honor on display at Island Quilter.   - Susan Riemer/Staff Photo
Fifty patriotic-themed quilts, such as the one above, are part of the show Quilted in Honor on display at Island Quilter.
— image credit: Susan Riemer/Staff Photo

This holiday weekend islanders will have ample opportunities to pay their respects to service men and women with the traditional Monday ceremony, a photography exhibit and a quilt show.

American Legion Post 159 will hold its annual Memorial Day Service at the Vashon Cemetery to recognize all those who served in the military and their families. The service will begin at 11 a.m.  Monday and will include a color guard, music, the placing of wreaths by Vashon service organizations and a Memorial Day address.

Chris Gaynor, an islander and Vietnam veteran, is a longtime member of the post and has assisted with planning the event.

Many islanders know Gaynor as the photographer behind the acclaimed exhibit, “Home of Record: Vashon and the Vietnam War,” which hung in the Heritage Museum in 2011 and 2012. About 20 of those photos, which he took between January of 1967 through February of 1968 on his tour of duty in Vietnam, are hanging in Café Luna this month. Four letters he wrote, each from a different period of of his tour, accompany the show.

“After so many decades, the young man who took these pictures is something of a stranger to me,” he writes in the shows introduction, “and I marvel at how so many good images were captured under such harsh conditions. Those who are looking for dramatic battle scenes or epic heroics will be disappointed. Instead, these are portraits of a group of young men, kids, really, who bond deeply through the  crucible of war.”

He invites the cafe’s patrons to look at the photographs and take in a bit of what he and those he served with experienced.

“This is history; it happened,” he writes. “Perhaps someday we will understand why.”

Just a short walk from the cafe, a show called Quilted in Honor will be on display at Island Quilter until June 5.

The exhibit, which contains more than 50 quilts, is traveling the United States and is raising funds for Operation Homefront, which provides emergency financial assistance and other means of support to families with members in the military and to those wounded while serving.

Quilt store owner Anja Moritz said she first saw the show about a year ago and reserved it for the store for this month because of the holiday.

“I wanted to support the cause,” she said. “I thought we should have it hanging here.”

Many of the quilts, most in red, white and blue, were made by luminaries in the quilting world, Moritz said.

The show opened on the First Friday gallery walk — but only with some help, said Paul Robinson, Anja’s partner, who also works at the store. The arrival of the quilts was delayed until mid-morning the day the show was supposed to open, and they were hung in time only because a former Army Ranger, who lives in Tacoma, happened to come to the store to see the exhibit.

When Robinson explained what happened with the show, the man — Michael Huffman — said, “Let’s get to work,” Robinson said. He helped hang most of the show, which will be on display until June 5.

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