A special program for veterans will feature George Washington’s re-enactor

SEQUIM — This tribute to veterans comes a little early.

General George Washington and the Continental Soldier Re-enactors will bring their stories and messages from the 18th century to young Sequim at a special, free event for kids in grades 1-3 with their parents at 1 p.m. Saturday at the George Washington Inn, 939 Finn Hall Road, between Sequim and Port Angeles.

Sequim resident Vern Frykholm, who represents Washington, and Seabeck resident Fred Gilbert, who represents ancestor Sgt. John Gilbert, delivers “Our Nation’s First Veterans,” a 30-minute presentation on Washington’s expectations of how a country should treat its veterans and what it means to be a veteran.

Frykholm, who has portrayed Washington at various events over the past 8½ years, said he was generally able to tell stories and anecdotes during his half-hour class discussions.

“Generally, I’ll talk about the character and how they deal with each other,” Frykholm said. “They want to know, ‘How was it?’ I share how lucky they are to come to school, that ‘When I was a boy, we didn’t have schools.’ Or what it was like to be on a farm or a plantation.

“It’s totally relational, mostly a matter of character, (of) treating each other well.”

On Oct. 24, Frykholm said, he cut his presentation down to just 7 or 8 minutes to allow time (and possibly cooler weather) to focus on what it means to be a veteran, while Gilbert will talk about what c was like a Continental Soldier. Frykholm, as Washington, will present Gilbert with a medal for his service. Later, the young people will receive coins to commemorate the event.

The event includes drummers and fifes. A draw will take place and the winner will be announced by General George Washington at the end of his presentation.

“It’s going to be short and sweet,” Frykholm said.

Safety, caution advised

All children must be accompanied by a parent, guardian or other adult.

Attendees are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs or blankets and are required to wear face masks and practice social distancing during the presentation. As there are no outhouses on site, families are asked to come prepared.

“We want to celebrate, but we also want to do masks and social distancing,” Frykholm said. He and Gilbert will wear transparent face shields so children can see the characters they are portraying.

“We try to make this celebration as well as face to face,” Frykholm said. “Hopefully next year we won’t have these precautions.”

The program is sponsored by the George Washington Inn and the Michael Trebert Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

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