About 75 Veterans and friends attended our informal observance of the Day at the Edmonds Veterans Plaza at the usual 11:00 A.M time of November 11, recognizing both Veterans Day and the day and hour of the signing of the armistice ending World War I in 1918.
Dan Doyle, Our Post Chaplain said a few appropriate words and Commander Kurfess oversaw the distribution of a new pin recognizing the widows of deceased Vietnam Veterans as well as Vietnam Veteran recognition pins to those who had not yet received them. The worst of the rain held off until after the ceremony.
We still have room in our current flight of pavers. If you, or someone you know wishes to honor a veteran, living or dead, we continue to expand our memorial pavers project in the plaza. Ideally, an additional five paver orders would round out the next installation phase. The cost is $ 500, which includes engraving & installation. You will find the order form on the Post web site. Cut and past the link below in your browser.
More than 350 veterans,
families, kids and well-wishers overflowed onto the sidewalks surrounding
the Edmonds Veterans Plaza Monday afternoon, all drawn by one purpose — to
honor, remember and connect with our military veterans.
Dan Doyle, VFW Post 8870
Chaplain, gave an emotional invocation that crystalized in a few words the
meaning of the day.
“We’re here today to honor those
who at some point in their lives signed a blank check to give, up to even
their lives, in service to you,” he said, “so that you and we all could
enjoy the liberties, peace and privileges of this nation.”
Emcee Rose Gilliland, VFW Post
8870 Commander, then took over: “I feel like I’m sitting in a living
history today,” she began. “I’m surrounded by veterans who have
lived it, breathed it and done it.” She went on to call on attendees from WWII,
Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf War and Operation Enduring Freedom (the War on
Terror) to be recognized.
Keynote speaker was State
Representative Strom Peterson, who recalled how the Edmonds Veterans Plaza
got its start during his tenure serving on the Edmonds City Council. “It
was about five years ago that a core group of organizers put their
energies together to turn this area into a special place to honor
veterans,” he said. “With dogged determination, this core group
provided the energy and inspiration to accomplish this in record
time.” Peterson went on to stress the key role of the plaza in providing a
place to make connections.“For those who did not have the opportunity to
serve, it’s a place to connect with and learn from those who did,” he
explained. “For veterans like Michael Reagan who walks by my house
every day on his daily pilgrimage to the plaza, it’s a place to make
connections with his friends, some of whom didn’t make it back. And
for all of us, it’s a place to remember what it means to serve our
country and our community.”
Jim Traner then announced the
names of those honored with newly placed pavers in the plaza:
Ron Pajoman, Navy 1960-1965 Chuck Smith, Army 1963-1999 Patrick Marker, Marines 1944-1946; 1950-1951 John, Gregg and Kim Sharp, Marines, Navy and Navy respectively (single paver) Beau Crabtree, Army 1991-2001 Donald Stapleton, Air Force, 1957-1978 William Cobb, Marine 1966-1968 Edward Johnson, Navy 1942-1946 Paul Hauck, Army 1944-1946; 1947-1963 Jim Roy Harrison, Navy 1942-1945 Jack Oharah, Navy 1962-1966 Jeffrey James Curtis, Marines, 1966-1967
Gold Star Mother Monica McNeal
was on hand to present a Vietnam War 50-year commemorative pin to Vietnam
veterans who had not previously received one. The program closed with Mike
Denton leading attendees in a chorus of “God Bless America”.
As we reported earlier, there have been
some issues with the Kiosk at the Plaza around damage from the winter
weather. We now have a resolution of those issues which will allow us
to economically repair any potential new damage from ice and
moisture. Additionally, plans are underway to install a cover over the
kiosk to protect it from weather and debris from the surrounding
trees, pending a design approval from the city.
The software which operates the kiosk is reported
to be functional and will be in operation soon. While there is still much work
to be done to connect the history of the individuals honored in our Plaza
with the data base in the kiosk, that work will proceed.
We are planning to hold a brief dedication
ceremony on Memorial Day, following our traditional Memorial day
observance at the Cemetery, to take place at 1:00 PM. Please put
this event on your calendar.
If you have visited the Edmonds Veterans Plaza recently,
you will note that the information kiosk has a protective cover
placed over it and is not yet in operation.
The system was expected to have been activated by now, however,
the recent exposure to snow and ice has damaged the equipmet
requiring the manufacturer to replace the interface
mechanisms. (Keyboard and roller mouse)
While the unit was sold as “weather proof”
that description seems to have been optimistic. Discussions are underway
with the manufacturer, who has agreed to replace the faulty parts. The EVP
Committee is exploring the placement of a cover or roof on the kiosk to
protect it from rain, snow and debris from the overhanging trees.
We still hope to hold a dedication ceremony around Memorial Day.
Stay tuned for further developments.
The Edmonds Veterans Plaza continues to develop as the installation of an outdoor interactive kiosk was completed by the City of Edmonds early this month. As you can see from the photo, the kiosk is located adjacent to the dedicated pavers walkway.
All that remains is to install the necessary software to allow functionality, which should happen later in November. A dedication ceremony will be planned as soon as the kiosk is functional.
This device is intended to give veterans and their families easy access to information about veterans aid programs and will eventually offer a list and location guide to all of the dedications located within the plaza.
Donations are being accepted for additional pavers, purchase and installation of which will be scheduled as soon as a sufficient quantity have been ordered.
The new information kiosk for the Plaza has arrived from the manufacturer on the east coast. Installation is in the hands of City of Edmonds crews who have much preparation to complete. We hope to be up and running by Veterans Day. Emphasis on “hope”.
One of the final items for the Edmonds Veterans Plaza, the new information kiosk is now on order, the deposit having been sent to the vendor, Advanced Kiosks, on August 11.
The kiosk will be located near the top of the path made of pavers honoring individual veterans and we hope to have it set up and running well before Veterans Day.
There are a variety of kinds of information that can be provided, all from online “cloud” access and include a link to WAServes ( https://washington.americaserves.org/) an online service set up to help veterans access services and information. We have provided this link before in this newsletter. If you have not done so. the above link will take you there.
The vendor will also provide software to allow us to set up a directory to guide visitors to each of the points in the Plaza bearing any particular veterans’ name and service information. It will take some time to organize and enter all of that information.
There will be ongoing maintenance required in both hardware and software, for which we have reserves in the Edmond Veterans Plaza fund, to help the city keep the Plaza current and well preserved.
At the July Post meeting, Jim Traner, who is a member of the Plaza Committee and one of the original organizers of the project, went over much of the details and a vote was taken to complete this part of the project.
Our thanks go out to Comrade Traner, Ron Clyborne and Bob Reinhart, who drove this portion of the project.
The on-again-off-again rain did little to dampen the spirits of the estimated 125 veterans, families, dignitaries and citizens who showed up for the first of what will be many Veterans Day observances at the new Edmonds Veterans Memorial Plaza.
Speaking from under an umbrella, VFW Post 8870 Post Commander Mike Denton welcomed the audience, reminding them of the significance of what we now call Veterans Day.
“It was at 11 a.m. on the 11th day of the 11th month that the guns of World War I fell silent in accord with the terms of the armistice signed by all parties to the conflict,” he said. “Originally called Armistice Day, the name was subsequently changed and the significance of the day expanded to honor all U.S. veterans who have fought for our country.”
State Rep. Strom Peterson spoke next. “Today, Veterans Day goes beyond honoring those who’ve served,” he said. “It is also a call to action to take care of our veterans from all conflicts, past, present and future. Today we not only honor their service, but commit to protecting and caring for them.”
Mayor Dave Earling reminded the audience of the significance of the new Veterans Plaza. “This amazing new space is many things for our community,” he said. “First and foremost, it honors those who have served. But beyond that it is a gathering place where the community comes together and connects with one another, allowing us to collectively remember and share.”
At left, Past Post & District Commander Jim Traner, and Sr Vice Commander Carl Kurfess present Vietnam Commemorative pins to Vietnam Vets.
— Story and photos by Larry Vogel, MyEdmondsNews.com
The Edmonds Veterans Plaza Committee has provided the following report to update us as we approach completion of the project.
A drinking Fountain is being installed and was to have been completed the week of October 1.
The City Council unanimously approved an additional $41K to complete the project. (These funds are directed primarily to pay for engineering changes instituted by the city.) The goal is to complete the work and have the EVP fully operational (including the water feature, lights etc.) by Veterans Day, 11 Nov.
An inaugural Veterans Day ceremony is in the planning stages. If you have any ideas or suggestions for the function …please share those with Jim Traner, Ron Clyborne or your Commander. We have a $3000 reserve fund to pay for upcoming functions and/or other EVP needs that may arise for 2017/2018.
All pavers are fully subscribed and have been installed. An additional 75 pavers in increments of 25 will be made available sometime in 2018 upon City approval. All new paver subscribers need to provide their names to Jim Traner and the ongoing subscription donations will remain at $500 per paver. We also have three stone benches available for engraving at $5000 each with which to remember and honor a Veteran(s) . If you know of anyone who may be interested, please let Traner or Clyborne know.
With a recent $8,000 grant from the Tulalip Tribe, available EVP funds stand at $19K. We needed $20k for the kiosk and the additional $1K required is covered with a verbal pledge. we will, therefore, begin the kiosk acquisition and planning, with the goal of having it installed and fully operational by the end of the 1st quarter of 2018.
We will maintain a “leadership team” to continue to manage the Plaza to its completion and to handle ongoing improvements and future functions. Post 8870 will continue to accept donations for the EVP for the foreseeable future, in order to pay for improvements and for maintenance requirements.
At right is photo of a K9 Soldier sculpture which has been donated and is to be installed in the EVP in October on a date and at a time to be announced. This statue was funded and designed by the “Off Leash dog Group”, who raised the funds to pay for the it outside the primary Plaza funding effort controlled by VFW Post 8870, to recognize the role played in our wars by the K9 teams. The dog sculpture is life size and will be installed on the existing “paver slab” on the east side of the south paver path, perpendicular to the two seating cubes.
The K-9 Memorial is to be dedicated in a brief ceremony on Saturday, October 21 at 1:00 PM at the Plaza.
The Edmonds Veterans Plaza has already made an incredibly positive impact on our Veterans and their families and friends as well as being a very meaningful addition to our entire community.
Friday, 15 September is National POW/ MIA day. Edmonds VFW Post 8870 & American Legion Post 66 will present a program commemorating this day and honoring all those who were POWs and those who served but never came home.
The tribute begins at 6:30 pm at the newly dedicated Edmonds Veterans Plaza located adjacent to the Edmonds Public Safety Building.
Guest speakers will be Joe Crecca, a former POW in the “Hanoi Hilton”; Dan Doyle, Navy Corpsman at Khe Sanh, Vietnam; and a special presentation of a portrait by Mike Reagan of the Fallen Heroes Project to the family of an Army MIA, Vietnam War, whose remains were recently recovered.
Following those presentations, the VFW will be presenting 50th Anniversary Pins to all Vietnam veterans attending the program.