On Tuesday, Sept. 11, Renton Farmers Market partnered with Skyway Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 9430 to celebrate Patriot Day, a remembrance of the 9/11 terrorist strike 17 years ago.
The market featured a color guard bringing in a flag, a rendition of the National Anthem, as well as rotating fire engine trucks. The Skyway post held a booth at the event.
At the booth the post listed events coming up, flyers on VFW eligibility, legislative information and patriotic items like the flag. They also offered poppies to passersby.
“The significance of the poppy is in honor of our fallen veterans,” Skyway Post’s Larry Weldon said.
Patriot Day is not to be confused with Patriots Day, which commemorates independence and is celebrated on the East Coast, Skyway quartermaster Chad Hassebroek said.
Chad said the goal of this event for his post is to spread the word of patriotism and get it back into everyday vocabulary.
“Sometimes you walk into a classroom and you ask first through fourth graders, ‘What’s patriotism?’ and they don’t have a clue. In the past everybody knew what it was, and the biggest answer would be, ‘We stand for the Pledge of Allegiance before class begins’” he said. “And a lot of schools don’t even do that anymore.”
Auxiliary president Emma Hassebroek said they offer information about the pledge of allegiance and patriotism.
Chad said that 9/11 attack set off a chain of events that are still in place today, and affected two generations of veterans with the Afghanistan and Iraqi campaigns and now Inherent Resolve. Chad himself served in Iraq and his son has served in Afghanistan twice.
“So we’re into a second generation during this conflict, fighting global war on terrorism,” Chad said. “We had the most number of people joining the military after 9/11, and that being the cause really brought in a lot of patriotic people.”
Chad said that surge of patriotism can still be felt today as people who were 5 or 6 years old when the attack on twin towers occurred are now old enough to join the military. He said that people still feel that patriotic duty to defend our country.
Weldon said that VFW can also help introduce young veterans to benefits they’re entitled to they may not even be aware of.
Chad said he hopes the booth offered a better understand of the VFW and the misconceptions surrounding it. Emma said that they are very active with community and offer at least four events a year at the auxiliary geared towards families and children.
“Fifty years ago the VFW was the heart of every city, any community activity would happen at the VFW any meetings, any weddings, dances, it just all revolved around Veterans of Foreign Wars. We kind of got away from that, for a while, because of the skip in generations between wars,” Chad said. “We’re just trying to get back out there and show that we’re not a bar, were an organization that assists veterans and do whatever we can to help the community.”