County’s war memorials could use our attention

  • Kristi O’Harran / Herald Columnist
  • Thursday, May 27, 2004 9:00pm
  • Local News

Snohomish needs some work. Edmonds has the right idea. Snohomish County has its heart in the right place. Everett is right on target.

But it’s a mishmash.

Why can’t there be one beautiful, significant place in the county to honor all of our men and women who died fighting for their country?

After all, a death in any of our burgs hits all of us hard.

Memorial Community Church at 710 Pecks Drive in Everett remembers not only war veterans on the chapel walls, but also lists deceased police officers, firefighters and astronauts.

The church list of World War II through Vietnam veterans killed in action is the only such list in the county. It’s wonderful to have that inside a church, but it should also be available at a permanent outdoor location.

This weekend, many communities will gather, mostly at cemeteries, for Memorial Day services. In this time of war, I wanted to see how war dead were noted around the county.

Expecting something nice at the county campus, I found three memorials in the same courtyard.

One is a statue “In memory of the men and women who served in the armed forces of the United States of America” with benches around it.

Down some steps, surrounded by plants, is a sculpture of two people, one helping a kneeling figure to his or her feet. The figures didn’t look “militaryish” and were too generic for my taste.

Also in the courtyard is a memorial with an eternal flame on top reading “To men and women of Snohomish County who would ask not what their country could do for them but what they could do for their country.”

Two hops from the eternal flame is a beautiful flagpole, with one side dedicated to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. On the other side it reads “Medal of Honor memorial to the memory and in honor of those of Snohomish County who in the service of their country received the nation’s highest award for conspicuous gallantry and valor above and beyond the call of duty,” with the names of Congressional Medal of Honor recipients.

Like I said, the county courtyard is very patriotic. But it’s a hodgepodge of sentiment.

At the old Snohomish library, there’s a war memorial is on the north side of the building at First Street and Cedar Avenue. It was dedicated May 30, 1961. Unfortunately, I had to run my hands across the names, from World War I to Vietnam, to make out the letters. It seemed to me they weren’t engraved deep enough, or have become faint in the weather.

I was able to discern Earl Winehart and Jesse Potter from World War I; Donald Reid and Charles Trapp from World War II; and Robert Courtney and William Shafer from Korea. Vietnam names included Charles Petersen, Earl Haug, Joe Larsen, Daniel Hendrickson, Bruce Christian and Owen McCandlis.

Vietnam names are legible because they were engraved later.

Someday, Snohomish will have to fashion a lasting memorial with better lettering.

The Edmonds memorial, appropriately located outside the Edmonds Historical Museum, is a huge stone “Dedicated to those of School District 15 who made the supreme sacrifice in the service of their country.”

Kind of odd, including all of School District 15, because my kids in Mill Creek attended District 15 schools and we live a long way from Edmonds. But it’s a warm gesture.

Some of the names are Jesse Bell and David Dent from 1917-1918; Art Toothman and Donald Trail from 1941-1945; Stanley Garnett and Joseph Hendricks from Korea; and Miles White and Benny Starr from Vietnam.

There are no benches for resting to admire the Edmonds monument, but Everett included seats in its starkly gorgeous wall at 2930 Wetmore Ave. The three tall black stones are easy to read. It’s “Dedicated to the memory of Everett City men and women who sacrificed their lives in the service of our country.”

Among those Everett lost are Louis Brenner and Frank Mobius from World War I, Hoyt Ross and Martin Voag from World War II, Wayne Boyk and Leonard Tye from the Korean War, and Paul Larson and Darrell Burns from the Vietnam War.

Deep black letters in Everett should stand for centuries.

None of the cities I visited needed to add any casualties from the Gulf War.

We’ve already lost Silvana Army Spc. Justin Hebert in the Iraq war. Will many community monuments have to be updated to reflect losses from Iraq? What a sad thought to ponder as Memorial Day nears.

Columnist Kristi O’Harran: 425-339-3451 or oharran@heraldnet.com.

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