Edmonds native lost in attack at Pentagon
Seattle Times staff reporter
In her search for consolation, she holds tightly to the flowers and condolences from friends, and memories of her son's visit in August — moments she never thought would be so dear.
"Those are pretty precious to us," said Strickland, of Edmonds. "We're clinging to that week we had together."
Her son, Sgt. Maj. Larry Strickland, is one of those missing or dead after hijackers commandeered American Airlines Flight 77 and crashed it into the Pentagon.
Strickland, 52 and the father of three grown children, served in the U.S. Army for 30 years. He was a senior adviser on personnel issues to the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
He also was less than a month from retirement.
Strickland shouldn't even have been working that day, Olga Strickland said quietly. He was thinking about taking the day off but decided to attend a meeting, she said.
When Strickland saw the news unfolding, she knew that he would have been in the part of the Pentagon that was attacked. "I thought that if he is in his office, that is exactly where he would be," she said.
Hushed sobs and the doorbell punctuate Olga Strickland's remembrances of her son, as deliverymen usher a steady flow of flowers into her home.
"Our friends are just wonderful," she said. "I don't know how, but we're getting by."
Larry Strickland grew up in Edmonds, a happy-go-lucky kid who liked to fish and enjoyed hiking in the Cascades. He played tennis, but his forte was music, a subject in which he earned straight A's, according to the Edmonds School District.
He was a drum major at Edmonds High School, where he graduated in 1966, and also was a percussionist with Cascade Symphony.
After high school, he majored in education and history at the University of Washington but did not graduate from the school, said Jon Marmor, editor of the UW alumni magazine.
The year Strickland was to graduate was not a promising one for new teachers. So two quarters short of earning his degree, he enlisted in the U.S. Army.
He completed his undergraduate degree while in the military.
Though the details of his military career are hazy for Olga Strickland, it's that week in August, when they celebrated her husband's 85th birthday early, that seems to matter most now.
Strickland and his wife, Debra, flew in from Woodbridge, Va., for a Northwest vacation with his parents, his younger sister and her husband.
They went to Leavenworth, barbecued at the Stricklands' Edmonds home and roamed Pike Place Market. Strickland fished for smelt with his father, Lee, at Deception Pass.
Strickland leaves behind his wife, his daughter, Julia Dill, and sons Matthew and Chris. He was the grandfather of a 2-year-old boy.
"I feel grateful for anything that we had," Olga Strickland said. "There are a lot of people who are a lot worse off than we are.
"It's still not a consolation."
Keiko Morris can be reached at 206-464-3214 or email@example.com