6/4/2014 5:46:00 PM Othello pays respects to veterans
Photo by Erik Pague City administrator and retired Air Force General Wade Farris honors fallen veterans during the Memorial Day service at the Bess Hampton Memorial Gardens hosted by Veterans of Foreign War Post 8889.
Othello residents gathered at Bess Hampton Memorial Gardens to pay tribute to the men and women of the U.S. armed forces during a Memorial Day service that was both a somber and happy experience for the veterans there, like Eddie Gutierrez. "I have a lot of friends who have gone before me in combat," Gutierrez, the post commander for Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8889, said. "We're here to help (family) remember these guys, so yes, the Memorial Day service is highly important to me and I will continue to do them as long as I'm post commander. And if I'm not post commander and if they knock me down, I'll still join them." He said it feels like earning a big reward each time he sees the happy faces of those who have a family member in the service being honored at the event. When Wilma Tindell - whose husband Tommie was the post commander before passing away - thanked Gutierrez for the kind words, he replied, "This is what it's all about." Between several performances from the Othello High School choir, guest speakers, like Mayor Shawn Logan, reminded the audience they probably wouldn't be there if it wasn't for veterans. "We would like to bring honor to our servicemen who are still with us today," Logan said. "Even though their tour of duty is over, they still continue to serve this city and this country and we want to thank you for your service, which continues to allow us to be a free people." City administrator and retired Air Force Major General Wade Farris' speech discussed what it meant to be a warrior and how it goes far beyond the dictionary definition of courage and being a citizen soldier. "For much of America, Memorial Day is picnics, barbecues, fishing, golfing, friends and family, but you're all here today to celebrate the true meaning of Memorial Day and that's to remember our warriors who gave all so we could have our freedoms," Farris said. For Farris, being a warrior takes courage, commitment and resilience. He went on to say a warrior's comrades and his friends and family serve as the reason to fight for freedom and also where a soldier finds his resolve to continue their service.