Unlike much of western Washington, the town of Sequim (pronounced “Squim”) isn’t surrounded by thick evergreen forests. Perched on the northern edge of the Olympic Peninsula, near the forrested and mountainous Olympic National Park, Sequim itself is only 184′ above sea level—if it weren’t for the saltwater on the horizon and the occasional herd of elk meandering through, the fields around it could almost pass for farmland in the Midwest.
The farms are what drew my children and me to Sequim this week—specifically Graysmarsh Farm’s u-pick berry fields. The strawberries are already done for the year, and we don’t pick the blackberries, (I won’t pay for them when our yard will be full of them in a few weeks!) but the fruit-heavy rows of raspberries, blueberries, logan berries and boysenberries are well worth a drive.
As we neared Sequim, (just about the time the kids started in on the “are we there yet’s) we entered a section of Highway 101 marked as a “Medal of Honor Highway.” This four-mile stretch of highway has four small green signs along it, one per mile. Each sign bears two little American flags and the name of one of four Medal of Honor recipients who were born or lived in Clallam and Jefferson Counties. The men memorialized are: Cpl. Francis A. Bishop and Cpl. Thaddeus S. Smith who both served in the Civil War, Private First Class Richard Beatty Anderson who served in WWII, and Construction Mechanic Third Class Marvin Glenn Shields.
If you’re rusty on your military medals, The Medal of Honor is the United States’ highest award for valor in combat. Reading the citations of Medal of Honor recipients is a humbling experience.
There is an additional sign on that stretch of highway—a marker for the gravesite of Marvin G. Shields. I had recently read about him in an excellent article by another blogger (shared below.) I found a spot to turn around on the highway and the kids and I stopped to pay our respects.
The cemetery itself is small and unassuming, though according to SeaBee magazine online it has hosted large groups for Veteran’s Day ceremonies. The road up to Mr. Sheilds’ grave passes markers for other local residents, including veterans from both World Wars.
On the base of the stone and around it stand flags, wreaths and other mementos—signs to show that his sacrifice hasn’t been forgotten.
The story of Marvin G. Sheilds’ service is a remarkable one, and it’s better told than I could in the article linked below, “Building the Hive,” first posted on the site Fix Bayonets. (Thanks, Mustang, for letting me share it. :)) “Building the Hive” also covers the origins and history of the SeaBees. I found it fascinating reading—I hope you do, too!
Building the Hive—Fix Bayonets!
“Nothing happens in war without logistics.” —Field Marshal Sir William Slim, British Army Some Background Navy ships cannot remain at sea forever. Shortly after the establishment of the U. S. Navy, senior officers began planning for ports and facilities that would enable the Navy to build and maintain its vessels, warehouse stores and ammunition, and […]