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Thank you, veterans: Generations gather at Snoqualmie Elementary to reflect on service, sacrifice | Photo Gallery
It wasn’t until late in his long life that Alvin Macko told his family what he went through in World War II.
Alvin, who attended past Veteran’s Day assemblies at Snoqualmie Elementary School, where his grandchildren attend classes, didn’t make it to this year’s assembly. He passed away in 2011.
Yet this year, his daughter, Krista Holmberg of Snoqualmie, and widow, Betty Macko of Sammamish, came to honor the veterans in his stead.
Macko spent most of World War II in one Japanese internment camp after another. Serving with the 2nd Bn., 4th Marine Division on Corregidor, he was captured early in the Philippines campaign and moved from camp to camp during the war.
For almost the entirety of his life, Alvin never spoke of his wartime experience with his family.
“I never heard a word of it until 10 years before he passed,” said Betty. “The kids didn’t even know.”
Alvin may have been missing Friday, but 50 living veterans, some middle aged, some still in the service, and a couple old enough to have served or fought in Europe and the Pacific in the second world war, were there Nov. 8, as Snoqualmie Elementary School students held an upbeat celebration of their service. It was one of several school ceremonies in the Valley commemorating the holiday this week and last.
Fifth grade students in teacher Desi Cudihee’s class led the program, carrying the colors, reading poems and forming a corridor of waving flags.
A choir of the school’s fourth grade students sang rousing songs. During a slideshow, seated schoolchildren murmured with excitement as they saw pictures of family members, teachers and bus drivers in military uniform, photographed during their days of service, sometimes amid scenes of ships, aircraft and active service.
“They put a lot of effort into it,” said Jason Maples, who accepted a card made by a third grader and a drawing colored by a Kindergartner in thanks for his Navy service. Maples, whose daughter Sophie attends school here, accepted the invitation by e-mail and came to the assembly. His six years of Navy service was a wonderful experience, he said. Today, he works as a security consultant.
Cudihee said her students have been working since October on the tribute. Everyone played a role.
“We had the runners, the greeters, the people who contacted veterans, the people to contact the screen (rental company), doing the powerpoint. They decorated. It was a whole effort.”
“We did this because a lot of people… didn’t get celebrated for what they did,” said fifth grade student Caya Crooks. “We wanted to make sure everybody gets celebrated.”
“They risked their lives for us to have our freedom,” added Haylee Osborn.
“In their mind, they knew it was the right thing,” said Amelia Barnes. “They wouldn’t just be saving themselves. They would be saving everyone.”
Photos by Seth Truscott
Fourth-grade students at Snoqualmie Elementary wave flags during a song in honor of veterans, Friday, Nov. 8.
Students at SES salute the flag.
Fifth grader Willow Bowman shows her patriotism.
Bill Staggs served with the 1st Marine Division on Guadalcanal, Peleliu and Iwo Jima. Here, he visits his granddaughters, Vera and Fiona, and their mom, Leah, at school;
Snoqualmie Elementary student Haylee Osborn shakes hands with Bill Staggs, a veteran of World War II, after her class's Veteran's Day assembly thanking family members and friends in the service.
Scouts Cade Woolf and Tony Olson salute veterans as they pass.
Woolf and Olson place the colors.
Morton Shecter poses with daughter-in-law Kindra Perkins and granddaughter Tova Shecter, a kindergartner at Snoqualmie Elementary School. A photo of Morton, as a U.S. infantryman in Seoul, Korea, in 1959, sits in the display case next to them.