Ceremonies at Evergreen Washelli on Memorial Day include 100 year old D-Day veteran

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Individuals waiting to speak with Col. George Westlake US Army Cavalry veteran (center, seated) who turned 100 years old this year. Photo by Steven H. Robinson

The highlight of the Memorial Day ceremonies at Evergreen Washelli on Aurora in north Seattle was not on the program.

It was attendee Col. George Westlake US Army Cavalry veteran who turned 100 years old this year.

He was part of the D-Day invasion of France and the Battle of the Bulge plus other action throughout France in World War II.

According to an interview with him in February after he attended ceremonies at Ft. Lewis, he was a company commander of 3rd Tank Destroyer Group's headquarters' element on Omaha Beach.

Current member of the US Army
1st Cavalry shaking hands with Col. Westlake.
Photo by Steven H. Robinson
By June 6, 1944, Westlake found himself on a ship off the coast of Normandy, France -- D-Day. Westlake would hit the beach two days later.

"There were boats as far as you could see," Westlake said. "But I didn't really have to dodge anything -- I'm a survivor." 
Even two days later, Flint was quick to point out, Omaha Beach was still taking fire from German forces. 
Westlake spent the next year "chasing the Germans" through France and Belgium until the Germans finally surrendered May 7, 1945. 
Westlake returned to the United States, but instead of getting out of the military, he joined the Army Reserve and retired as a colonel in 1975. 
He was a civil affairs commander at Fort Lawton - now Discovery Park - in Seattle. Today, he lives in the Wedgwood area of Seattle.

During the ceremonies Shorecrest graduate Maria Kesovija sang the National Anthem. A wreath was placed in honor of the servicemen and women who gave their lives in service to America.

The keynote address was given by Dr. Samantha Powers, Director of Student Veteran Life, University of Washington.

After the ceremonies, visitors to the Memorial Day Celebration joined a tour and visited the graves of Medal of Honor winners, such as William C. Horton, one of Seven Medal of Honor recipients interred at Evergreen-Washelli Cemetery in Seattle.


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