Family gathers on Memorial Day to remember dead, celebrate living

Michelle Theriault Boots
Alma Flint, 8, and Ron and Rachel Winn prepare to present colors during a Memorial Day ceremony sponsored by the Korean War Veterans Association Monday, May 27, 2013 on the Delaney Park Strip. Ron Winn was the featured speaker at the event, which this year commemorated the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg.
Erik Hill
Guests honor fallen warriors during a Memorial Day ceremony sponsored by the Korean War Veterans Association Monday, May 27, 2013 on the Delaney Park Strip.
Erik Hill
Members of the Alaska Vets Motorcycle Club arrive at a Memorial Day ceremony sponsored by the Korean War Veterans Association Monday, May 27, 2013 on the Delaney Park Strip.
Erik Hill
Members of the Alaska Vets Motorcycle Club attend and participate in a Memorial Day event sponsored by the Korean War Veterans Association Monday, May 27, 2013 on the Delaney Park Strip.
Erik Hill
Rachel Winn and her husband Ron dress in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg at a Memorial Day ceremony sponsored by the Korean War Veterans Association Monday, May 27, 2013 on the Delaney Park Strip.
Erik Hill
Alma Flint, 8, dips a Confederate battle flag as the American and Alaska flags are honored during a Memorial Day ceremony sponsored by the Koran War Veterans Association Monday, May 27, 2013 on the Delaney Park Strip. The event this year commemorated the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, and Ron Winn spoke about the Civil War and the battle that produced more casualties, approximately 51,000 killed, wounded or missing in action, than any other battle of that war. An ancestor of Winn's wife Rachel served in the 2nd Cherokee Mounted Rifles, and so that battle flag was available for the ceremony, though Flint is outfitted as a Union drummer boy. With renovations begun at the Veterans Memorial down the park strip, the ceremony was held a few blocks east at Ninth Avenue and G Street.
Erik Hill
Vietnam veteran J. W. Terrill of the Military Order of the Purple Heart wears his patch-covered vest during a Memorial Day ceremony sponsored by the Korean War Veterans Association Monday, May 27, 2013 on the Delaney Park Strip.
Erik Hill
Wounded Vietnam veteran Glen Allen honors fallen comrades during a Memorial Day ceremony sponsored by the Korean War Veterans Association Monday, May 27, 2013 on the Delaney Park Strip. Though badly wounded in tours with both the Marines and later with the Army, "I'm still proud that I served and I'd do it again," he said. "I'm not a hero. The heroes are the ones who came home with flags on the coffins." Adding to the significance of the day, Allen lost a brother in Afghanistan in an IED incident in April.
Erik Hill
Alvin Moye of the VFW honors the fallen during a Memorial Day ceremony sponsored by the Korean War Veterans Association Monday, May 27, 2013 on the Delaney Park Strip.
Erik Hill
Members of the Alaska Vets Motorcycle Club honor fallen warriors at a Memorial Day event sponsored by the Korean War Veterans Association Monday, May 27, 2013 on the Delaney Park Strip.
Erik Hill
Members of the Alaska Vets Motorcycle Club arrive at a Memorial Day ceremony sponsored by the Korean War Veterans Association Monday, May 27, 2013 on the Delaney Park Strip.
Erik Hill
Ron Winn delivers the keynote address on the Civil War and the Battle of Gettysburg during a Memorial Day ceremony sponsored by the Korean War Veterans Association Monday, May 27, 2013 on the Delaney Park Strip.
Erik Hill
Berkeley Ide welcomes guests to a new location for the Memorial Day ceremony sponsored by the Korean War Veterans Association Monday, May 27, 2013 on the Delaney Park Strip. With renovation under way at the Veterans Memorial, the event was held at Ninth Avenue and G Street.
Erik Hill
Members of the Alaska Vets Motorcycle Club perform their fallen warrior ceremony at a Memorial Day event sponsored by the Korean War Veterans Association Monday, May 27, 2013 on the Delaney Park Strip.
Erik Hill
Guests honor fallen warriors during a Memorial Day ceremony sponsored by the Korean War Veterans Association Monday, May 27, 2013 on the Delaney Park Strip.
Erik Hill
Estella Manley pauses from distributing flags and buddy poppies to lay a wreath on behalf of VFW Post 9978 and Ladies Auxiliary during a Memorial Day ceremony sponsored by the Korean War Veterans Association Monday, May 27, 2013 on the Delaney Park Strip. She is escorted by Berkeley Ide.
Erik Hill
Berkeley Ide emcees the Memorial Day ceremony sponsored by the Korean War Veterans Association Monday, May 27, 2013 on the Delaney Park Strip.
Erik Hill
Dressed to commemorate the Civil War and the Battle of Gettysburg, Rachel Winn shields herself from the sun during a Memorial Day ceremony sponsored by the Korean War Veterans Association Monday, May 27, 2013 on the Delaney Park Strip.
Erik Hill
Proclamations are read at a Memorial Day ceremony sponsored by the Korean War Veterans Association Monday, May 27, 2013 on the Delaney Park Strip.
Erik Hill
Veterans, families, friends and citizens attend a Memorial Day ceremony sponsored by the Korean War Veterans Association Monday, May 27, 2013 on the Delaney Park Strip.
Erik Hill
Veterans, families, friends and citizens attend a Memorial Day ceremony sponsored by the Korean War Veterans Association Monday, May 27, 2013 on the Delaney Park Strip.
Erik Hill
The Alaska Flag reflects off a display at a Memorial Day ceremony sponsored by the Korean War Veterans Association Monday, May 27, 2013 on the Delaney Park Strip.
Erik Hill
Billy Okpik welcomes another arrival to an extended family gathering at the grave sites of five family members on Memorial Day Monday, May 27, 2013 at Anchorage Memorial Park Cemetery downtown.
Erik Hill
Inga family members pose by headstones during a day-long gathering on Memorial Day Monday, May 27, 2013 at Anchorage Memorial Park Cemetery downtown.
Erik Hill
Ermalee Hickel visits the grave site of her late husband Gov. Walter J. Hickel on Memorial Day Monday, May 27, 2013 at Anchorage Memorial Park Cemetery downtown. She was accompanied by his former secretary, Carole Anderson.
Erik Hill
Hal Johnson, left, chats with Ermalee Hickel as she visits the grave site of her late husband Gov. Walter J. Hickel on Memorial Day Monday, May 27, 2013 at Anchorage Memorial Park Cemetery downtown. She was accompanied by his former secretary, Carole Anderson.
Erik Hill
Hal Johnson takes a Memorial Day stroll Monday, May 27, 2013 at Anchorage Memorial Park Cemetery downtown. He was visiting the grave site of his brother.
Erik Hill
From left Thelma Caton, Edna Charley, Lucy Clewis, Ann Tyone and Doris Williams serenade Braden Clewis, 1, from their Tlinqit-Haida repertoire during an extended family gathering on Memorial Day Monday, May 27, 2013 at Anchorage Memorial Park Cemetery downtown. Several family members are veterans of the Tlingit and Haida Dancers of Anchorage.
Erik Hill
A can of Pepsi is offered at the grave site of Allen Tyone as extended family gathers on Memorial Day Monday, May 27, 2013 at Anchorage Memorial Park Cemetery downtown.
Erik Hill
Alma Flint, 8, and Ron and Rachel Winn prepare to present colors during a Memorial Day ceremony sponsored by the Korean War Veterans Association Monday, May 27, 2013 on the Delaney Park Strip. Ron Winn was the featured speaker at the event, which this year commemorated the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg.
Erik Hill
Guests honor fallen warriors during a Memorial Day ceremony sponsored by the Korean War Veterans Association Monday, May 27, 2013 on the Delaney Park Strip.
Erik Hill
Members of the Alaska Vets Motorcycle Club arrive at a Memorial Day ceremony sponsored by the Korean War Veterans Association Monday, May 27, 2013 on the Delaney Park Strip.
Erik Hill
Members of the Alaska Vets Motorcycle Club attend and participate in a Memorial Day event sponsored by the Korean War Veterans Association Monday, May 27, 2013 on the Delaney Park Strip.
Erik Hill
Rachel Winn and her husband Ron dress in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg at a Memorial Day ceremony sponsored by the Korean War Veterans Association Monday, May 27, 2013 on the Delaney Park Strip.
Erik Hill
Alma Flint, 8, dips a Confederate battle flag as the American and Alaska flags are honored during a Memorial Day ceremony sponsored by the Koran War Veterans Association Monday, May 27, 2013 on the Delaney Park Strip. The event this year commemorated the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, and Ron Winn spoke about the Civil War and the battle that produced more casualties, approximately 51,000 killed, wounded or missing in action, than any other battle of that war. An ancestor of Winn's wife Rachel served in the 2nd Cherokee Mounted Rifles, and so that battle flag was available for the ceremony, though Flint is outfitted as a Union drummer boy. With renovations begun at the Veterans Memorial down the park strip, the ceremony was held a few blocks east at Ninth Avenue and G Street.
Erik Hill
Vietnam veteran J. W. Terrill of the Military Order of the Purple Heart wears his patch-covered vest during a Memorial Day ceremony sponsored by the Korean War Veterans Association Monday, May 27, 2013 on the Delaney Park Strip.
Erik Hill
Wounded Vietnam veteran Glen Allen honors fallen comrades during a Memorial Day ceremony sponsored by the Korean War Veterans Association Monday, May 27, 2013 on the Delaney Park Strip. Though badly wounded in tours with both the Marines and later with the Army, "I'm still proud that I served and I'd do it again," he said. "I'm not a hero. The heroes are the ones who came home with flags on the coffins." Adding to the significance of the day, Allen lost a brother in Afghanistan in an IED incident in April.
Erik Hill
Alvin Moye of the VFW honors the fallen during a Memorial Day ceremony sponsored by the Korean War Veterans Association Monday, May 27, 2013 on the Delaney Park Strip.
Erik Hill
Members of the Alaska Vets Motorcycle Club honor fallen warriors at a Memorial Day event sponsored by the Korean War Veterans Association Monday, May 27, 2013 on the Delaney Park Strip.
Erik Hill
Members of the Alaska Vets Motorcycle Club arrive at a Memorial Day ceremony sponsored by the Korean War Veterans Association Monday, May 27, 2013 on the Delaney Park Strip.
Erik Hill
Ron Winn delivers the keynote address on the Civil War and the Battle of Gettysburg during a Memorial Day ceremony sponsored by the Korean War Veterans Association Monday, May 27, 2013 on the Delaney Park Strip.
Erik Hill
Berkeley Ide welcomes guests to a new location for the Memorial Day ceremony sponsored by the Korean War Veterans Association Monday, May 27, 2013 on the Delaney Park Strip. With renovation under way at the Veterans Memorial, the event was held at Ninth Avenue and G Street.
Erik Hill
Members of the Alaska Vets Motorcycle Club perform their fallen warrior ceremony at a Memorial Day event sponsored by the Korean War Veterans Association Monday, May 27, 2013 on the Delaney Park Strip.
Erik Hill
Guests honor fallen warriors during a Memorial Day ceremony sponsored by the Korean War Veterans Association Monday, May 27, 2013 on the Delaney Park Strip.
Erik Hill
Estella Manley pauses from distributing flags and buddy poppies to lay a wreath on behalf of VFW Post 9978 and Ladies Auxiliary during a Memorial Day ceremony sponsored by the Korean War Veterans Association Monday, May 27, 2013 on the Delaney Park Strip. She is escorted by Berkeley Ide.
Erik Hill
Berkeley Ide emcees the Memorial Day ceremony sponsored by the Korean War Veterans Association Monday, May 27, 2013 on the Delaney Park Strip.
Erik Hill
Dressed to commemorate the Civil War and the Battle of Gettysburg, Rachel Winn shields herself from the sun during a Memorial Day ceremony sponsored by the Korean War Veterans Association Monday, May 27, 2013 on the Delaney Park Strip.
Erik Hill
Proclamations are read at a Memorial Day ceremony sponsored by the Korean War Veterans Association Monday, May 27, 2013 on the Delaney Park Strip.
Erik Hill
Veterans, families, friends and citizens attend a Memorial Day ceremony sponsored by the Korean War Veterans Association Monday, May 27, 2013 on the Delaney Park Strip.
Erik Hill
Veterans, families, friends and citizens attend a Memorial Day ceremony sponsored by the Korean War Veterans Association Monday, May 27, 2013 on the Delaney Park Strip.
Erik Hill
The Alaska Flag reflects off a display at a Memorial Day ceremony sponsored by the Korean War Veterans Association Monday, May 27, 2013 on the Delaney Park Strip.
Erik Hill
Billy Okpik welcomes another arrival to an extended family gathering at the grave sites of five family members on Memorial Day Monday, May 27, 2013 at Anchorage Memorial Park Cemetery downtown.
Erik Hill
Inga family members pose by headstones during a day-long gathering on Memorial Day Monday, May 27, 2013 at Anchorage Memorial Park Cemetery downtown.
Erik Hill
Ermalee Hickel visits the grave site of her late husband Gov. Walter J. Hickel on Memorial Day Monday, May 27, 2013 at Anchorage Memorial Park Cemetery downtown. She was accompanied by his former secretary, Carole Anderson.
Erik Hill
Hal Johnson, left, chats with Ermalee Hickel as she visits the grave site of her late husband Gov. Walter J. Hickel on Memorial Day Monday, May 27, 2013 at Anchorage Memorial Park Cemetery downtown. She was accompanied by his former secretary, Carole Anderson.
Erik Hill
Hal Johnson takes a Memorial Day stroll Monday, May 27, 2013 at Anchorage Memorial Park Cemetery downtown. He was visiting the grave site of his brother.
Erik Hill
From left Thelma Caton, Edna Charley, Lucy Clewis, Ann Tyone and Doris Williams serenade Braden Clewis, 1, from their Tlinqit-Haida repertoire during an extended family gathering on Memorial Day Monday, May 27, 2013 at Anchorage Memorial Park Cemetery downtown. Several family members are veterans of the Tlingit and Haida Dancers of Anchorage.
Erik Hill
A can of Pepsi is offered at the grave site of Allen Tyone as extended family gathers on Memorial Day Monday, May 27, 2013 at Anchorage Memorial Park Cemetery downtown.
Erik Hill
Alma Flint, 8, and Ron and Rachel Winn prepare to present colors during a Memorial Day ceremony sponsored by the Korean War Veterans Association Monday, May 27, 2013 on the Delaney Park Strip. Ron Winn was the featured speaker at the event, which this year commemorated the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg.
Erik Hill
Guests honor fallen warriors during a Memorial Day ceremony sponsored by the Korean War Veterans Association Monday, May 27, 2013 on the Delaney Park Strip.
Erik Hill
Members of the Alaska Vets Motorcycle Club arrive at a Memorial Day ceremony sponsored by the Korean War Veterans Association Monday, May 27, 2013 on the Delaney Park Strip.
Erik Hill
Members of the Alaska Vets Motorcycle Club attend and participate in a Memorial Day event sponsored by the Korean War Veterans Association Monday, May 27, 2013 on the Delaney Park Strip.
Erik Hill
Rachel Winn and her husband Ron dress in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg at a Memorial Day ceremony sponsored by the Korean War Veterans Association Monday, May 27, 2013 on the Delaney Park Strip.
Erik Hill
Alma Flint, 8, dips a Confederate battle flag as the American and Alaska flags are honored during a Memorial Day ceremony sponsored by the Koran War Veterans Association Monday, May 27, 2013 on the Delaney Park Strip. The event this year commemorated the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, and Ron Winn spoke about the Civil War and the battle that produced more casualties, approximately 51,000 killed, wounded or missing in action, than any other battle of that war. An ancestor of Winn's wife Rachel served in the 2nd Cherokee Mounted Rifles, and so that battle flag was available for the ceremony, though Flint is outfitted as a Union drummer boy. With renovations begun at the Veterans Memorial down the park strip, the ceremony was held a few blocks east at Ninth Avenue and G Street.
Erik Hill
Vietnam veteran J. W. Terrill of the Military Order of the Purple Heart wears his patch-covered vest during a Memorial Day ceremony sponsored by the Korean War Veterans Association Monday, May 27, 2013 on the Delaney Park Strip.
Erik Hill
Wounded Vietnam veteran Glen Allen honors fallen comrades during a Memorial Day ceremony sponsored by the Korean War Veterans Association Monday, May 27, 2013 on the Delaney Park Strip. Though badly wounded in tours with both the Marines and later with the Army, "I'm still proud that I served and I'd do it again," he said. "I'm not a hero. The heroes are the ones who came home with flags on the coffins." Adding to the significance of the day, Allen lost a brother in Afghanistan in an IED incident in April.
Erik Hill
Alvin Moye of the VFW honors the fallen during a Memorial Day ceremony sponsored by the Korean War Veterans Association Monday, May 27, 2013 on the Delaney Park Strip.
Erik Hill
Members of the Alaska Vets Motorcycle Club honor fallen warriors at a Memorial Day event sponsored by the Korean War Veterans Association Monday, May 27, 2013 on the Delaney Park Strip.
Erik Hill
Members of the Alaska Vets Motorcycle Club arrive at a Memorial Day ceremony sponsored by the Korean War Veterans Association Monday, May 27, 2013 on the Delaney Park Strip.
Erik Hill
Ron Winn delivers the keynote address on the Civil War and the Battle of Gettysburg during a Memorial Day ceremony sponsored by the Korean War Veterans Association Monday, May 27, 2013 on the Delaney Park Strip.
Erik Hill
Berkeley Ide welcomes guests to a new location for the Memorial Day ceremony sponsored by the Korean War Veterans Association Monday, May 27, 2013 on the Delaney Park Strip. With renovation under way at the Veterans Memorial, the event was held at Ninth Avenue and G Street.
Erik Hill
Members of the Alaska Vets Motorcycle Club perform their fallen warrior ceremony at a Memorial Day event sponsored by the Korean War Veterans Association Monday, May 27, 2013 on the Delaney Park Strip.
Erik Hill
Guests honor fallen warriors during a Memorial Day ceremony sponsored by the Korean War Veterans Association Monday, May 27, 2013 on the Delaney Park Strip.
Erik Hill
Estella Manley pauses from distributing flags and buddy poppies to lay a wreath on behalf of VFW Post 9978 and Ladies Auxiliary during a Memorial Day ceremony sponsored by the Korean War Veterans Association Monday, May 27, 2013 on the Delaney Park Strip. She is escorted by Berkeley Ide.
Erik Hill
Berkeley Ide emcees the Memorial Day ceremony sponsored by the Korean War Veterans Association Monday, May 27, 2013 on the Delaney Park Strip.
Erik Hill
Dressed to commemorate the Civil War and the Battle of Gettysburg, Rachel Winn shields herself from the sun during a Memorial Day ceremony sponsored by the Korean War Veterans Association Monday, May 27, 2013 on the Delaney Park Strip.
Erik Hill
Proclamations are read at a Memorial Day ceremony sponsored by the Korean War Veterans Association Monday, May 27, 2013 on the Delaney Park Strip.
Erik Hill
Veterans, families, friends and citizens attend a Memorial Day ceremony sponsored by the Korean War Veterans Association Monday, May 27, 2013 on the Delaney Park Strip.
Erik Hill
Veterans, families, friends and citizens attend a Memorial Day ceremony sponsored by the Korean War Veterans Association Monday, May 27, 2013 on the Delaney Park Strip.
Erik Hill
The Alaska Flag reflects off a display at a Memorial Day ceremony sponsored by the Korean War Veterans Association Monday, May 27, 2013 on the Delaney Park Strip.
Erik Hill
Billy Okpik welcomes another arrival to an extended family gathering at the grave sites of five family members on Memorial Day Monday, May 27, 2013 at Anchorage Memorial Park Cemetery downtown.
Erik Hill
Inga family members pose by headstones during a day-long gathering on Memorial Day Monday, May 27, 2013 at Anchorage Memorial Park Cemetery downtown.
Erik Hill
Ermalee Hickel visits the grave site of her late husband Gov. Walter J. Hickel on Memorial Day Monday, May 27, 2013 at Anchorage Memorial Park Cemetery downtown. She was accompanied by his former secretary, Carole Anderson.
Erik Hill
Hal Johnson, left, chats with Ermalee Hickel as she visits the grave site of her late husband Gov. Walter J. Hickel on Memorial Day Monday, May 27, 2013 at Anchorage Memorial Park Cemetery downtown. She was accompanied by his former secretary, Carole Anderson.
Erik Hill
Hal Johnson takes a Memorial Day stroll Monday, May 27, 2013 at Anchorage Memorial Park Cemetery downtown. He was visiting the grave site of his brother.
Erik Hill
From left Thelma Caton, Edna Charley, Lucy Clewis, Ann Tyone and Doris Williams serenade Braden Clewis, 1, from their Tlinqit-Haida repertoire during an extended family gathering on Memorial Day Monday, May 27, 2013 at Anchorage Memorial Park Cemetery downtown. Several family members are veterans of the Tlingit and Haida Dancers of Anchorage.
Erik Hill
A can of Pepsi is offered at the grave site of Allen Tyone as extended family gathers on Memorial Day Monday, May 27, 2013 at Anchorage Memorial Park Cemetery downtown.
Erik Hill

They came to the graves bearing cases of Pepsi, seaweed salad and arrangements of plastic flowers that will never wilt.

The Tyone and Clewis families, a sprawling Tlingit clan with roots in Kake, convened under a birch tree whose leaves had abruptly turned green at Anchorage's Memorial Park Cemetery Monday.

They, like the dozens of other families visiting the downtown cemetery on Memorial Day, had come to remember the dead their own way.

Some families camped out at grave sites in plastic chairs, picnicking and singing hymns. Others arrived with buckets full of brooms, water and gardening supplies to quietly tidy their loved ones' plots.

The Clewis and Tyone family -- sisters, adopted sisters, cousins, sons, great-grandchildren included -- has gathered at the family plot every Memorial Day for two decades.

They view their picnic as a day-long affair, a way of turning tragedy and too-soon departures into something that knits the family closer together.

"It's our way of remembering all the family that has passed," said Lucille Clewis, whose husband, daughter and two grandsons are buried nearby.

Everyone sat around drinking coffee from thermoses and nibbling on pound cake, sandwiches and seaweed sent all the way from Kake.

The women sang a Tlingit lullaby to the baby of the gathering, 1-year-old Braden Clewis, while he wobbled around between gravestones. Lucille Clewis played a moose-hide drum bearing the symbol of the family's Eagle clan.

Part of the reason the family is so close is that the matriarchs have all lost a child, said Edna Charley.

"I think that's why we're included to support each other," she said.

Family members posed for pictures by the grave of Army veteran Anthony Ray Clewis Sr., who died in 2006 at 54.

Then they kneeled in front of the graves of Sissie Inga and her two young sons Nicolai, 4, and Anthony Ray, 2. The three died in a trailer fire in Muldoon in 1995.

Darryl Tyone stood close to the grave of his brother Allen Lee Tyone, who loved his family, his cassette collection, drinking Pepsi and professional wrestling. Tyone died in his sleep in 1999 at age 31.

When his brother died, the chaplain from the Anchorage Police Department commented on how quickly members of the family showed up to mourn together, Tyone said. That's how the family is, he said: Together in tragedy and often together on weekends for potlucks and bingo nights too.

He doesn't come any other time of year to the grave.

Coming alone, he said, "would be so hard."

He left a can of Pepsi in the grass as a small offering of remembrance.

 

Reach Michelle Theriault Boots at mtheriault@adn.com or 257-4344.

 

 

 


By MICHELLE THERIAULT BOOTS
mtheriault@adn.com