It is my artistic tradition to sketch in the Tahoma VA National Cemetery (Kent, WA) on or about Veterans Day and Memorial Day as a meditation on service and sacrifice. Since the rest of the week is likely to be raining, today is the day. It was so early there were not any flags out.

Looking from the main flag pole in the direction of the entrance, one can see Mt. Rainier.  The peak wasn’t visible in the cloud cover but we could see the base.  The flag is at half mast, I presume, for Jane Reno, who died yesterday.

I am distributing sketches from my older sketchbooks (to friends, family, abandoning, etc). I’d saved 2 in order to abandon them at the cemetery. One I left at the grave that is depicted in the sketch and the other I left near one of the columbaria.

I drove around, looking for the scene I wanted to sketch.  I got out and walked around, too, through some sections I’d not been before.  I finally settled on this view of the main flag pole from next to one of the columaria sections.

As I was sketching, a small family group came up the walk, carrying a beautiful wooden box with remains.   I stood in respect and nodded as they passed.  I heard the gun fire salute and taps from two other funerals while I was there.  Keep in mind that these were likely not deaths from the current war(s)… any veteran may be buried in the National Cemetery so these may have been older veterans from other periods of service.  Still, service, sacrifice and respect.


About redharparts

Born in Michigan. Attended undergrad and graduate universities there. I've lived in England, Germany, Southern California and now Washington (state). I'm a retired Medical Social Worker with a past specialty in Oncology. I've enjoyed exploring historical re-creation through the SCA. I costume in several fandoms. Lately I've returned to Art and have taken up Urban Sketching, a version of en plein air painting.
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3 Responses to Tahoma

  1. bedaherb says:

    Hi Kate,

    I loved this sketch and the description of Mt. Rainier, as it was just the same for me driving to Tacoma this morning. Stunning.

    Thanks, Beda


  2. miatagrrl says:

    A beautiful personal tradition and new sketch. I also admire that you “abandoned” those sketches there! I hope they will go to someone for whom the subject matter is meaningful.


  3. joantav says:

    I always find it so emotional to be there when taps are played and the shots fired. How great that you left the sketches behind where you had originally sketched them. I like your sketch for today looking back at the flag. Nicely done!

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