On Veterans Day, we will gather at the Edmonds Veterans Plaza for a ceremony to dedicate the newly inscribed concrete benches to the late Jim Traner and Comrade Ron Clybome, who, together, led the effort to raise the funds and establish the Plaza as we see it today. We hope you will all join us.
Following the larger event at the Cemetery, the post put on a short event at the Edmonds Veterans Plaza, Featuring the same keynote speakers. In the photo at right, Post Chaplain Dan Doyle leads an opening prayer.
Below right, Jim Traner hands out Vietnam anniversary pins to veterans and family members.
More than 75 veterans, their families and community members filled Edmonds Veterans Plaza Friday morning to honor and give thanks to those who have served in the military and to the military families who support them and sacrifice with them.
After welcoming remarks from Carl Kurfess, Commander of VFW Post 8870 and the invocation by Post Chaplain Dan Doyle, Edmonds Mayor Mike Nelson delivered introductory remarks.
“You carry the weight many cannot bear,” he began, addressing veterans and their families. “It is a constant reminder that what we have today came with a price that includes not only serving in far-flung locations, often in harm’s way, but the days and nights away from family, missing holidays, children’s’ birthdays and more.”
Concluding with a quotation from Gen. Douglas MacArthur on the meaning of the words duty, honor and country, Nelson stressed that these are not just words that are said, but for veterans it is the words they live.
Keynote speaker Michael Reagan, founder of the Fallen Heroes Project, then spoke of the things that tie veterans together.
“All veterans have one thing in common,” he began, “– memories. Each of us who have served walks a different path. Some were wonderful, allowing us to experience different cultures and people. Others were not pretty or nice, and some of these left scars we don’t like to talk about.
“If you’re not telling your stories and you need to, call me,” he concluded. “I don’t celebrate Veterans Day one day a year — it’s every day for me. When someone dies for me, it’s the greatest gift anyone can give me.”
The second keynote speaker was Mike Schindler, founder and CEO of Operation Military Family.
“I had a prepared speech today, but I’m not going to give it,” he began. “Instead, I want to tell you about a message I received this morning from my daughter, telling me how proud she is of me and my service to our country. It really choked me up. For me, this was a great reminder that because of all who have served and the sacrifices they have made, my daughter is today able to live her passion and pursue a career in medicine.
“I served not for political reasons,” he concluded, “but because I love this country. I don’t believe God put us here to be small — we are here for a reason. Now go out there and do something amazing!”
Photos & portions of the article courtesy Larry Vogel, MyEdmondsNews.com
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.
Photo by Bob Rhinehart.
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.