It was ten years ago this week, August 28, 1999, when our friends Art and Edie Almeida allowed their son Anthony to go on a vacation trip from their home in Roy to Ocean Shores, Washington with family friends.
At the ocean, Anthony and a friend were wading in shallow water when Anthony was knocked to his knees by a wave and pulled out to sea, powerless against a rip current during the outgoing tide. All efforts to save him were futile against the power of the current. His body was not recovered for weeks. His death left family and friends devastated.
Anthony Almeida was the second oldest of four sons. He was a star athlete, a good student, and loved by all.
For the past year Anthony's mother, Edie Almeida, has been planning and preparing a 10th Anniversary Memorial Celebration of Anthony's life. She produced a slide show of family photos and even burned commemorative CDs with a collection of favorite songs and gave each person in attendance a copy of the CD in a jewel box case tied with raffia bow. Edie walked through the picnic shelter with a huge basket on her arm full of the CDs and stopped at each table to talk with every person who came and to give them a copy of the CD. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HAUQSj2INyk
There was a buffet line with beautiful ethnic foods, fresh fruits, berries, and desserts. The event was last weekend, August 22, 2009, at Yelm City Park. More than a hundred people came. People of all ages were on hand: kids played on the lawn, older boys tossed a football back and forth as the music played, and people brought their family pets along, too. Everyone -- including the pets -- were all made to feel welcome. Family members came from out of state, as well.
The celebration was such a beautiful thing and Edie did so much to prepare for it. One special thing she had wanted to do was to perform a special hula as an expression of her forever love for her husband Art, for her three surviving sons, and all in memory of her undying love for Anthony. It was a beautiful tribute, unlike any I have ever seen before. Here is the video of the memorial hula. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iR2PI4xlUec