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Celebration will honor Valley WWII veterans

SNOQUALMIE - When Katherine Kerr heard about the National World War II Memorial being dedicated in Washington, D.C. last year, she decided that those Valley veterans who couldn't make it to the East Coast for the event would be honored right here at home.

Kerr, who is the president of Snoqualmie Valley American Legion Auxiliary No. 70, set out last November to not only organize a local celebration for the veterans, but also to track down every resident in the area who served overseas during World War II..

On May 29, Kerr's efforts will come full circle when at 9:30 a.m., a 90-minute ceremony honoring local World War II veterans will commence at Mount Si High School. Dennis Bounds from King 5 television will host the event, which will feature World War II-era displays, music and the presentation of certificates to local veterans. The event will coincide with the national dedication of the World War II memorial in Washington, D.C.

With the help of several Valley residents, Kerr was able to get invitations to the event out to about 140 veterans, but wants to make it clear that no one needs an invitation to attend as the public, especially those veterans that weren't reached by the organization, are invited.

"I know there are a lot of veterans still alive in the Valley that we haven't even contacted yet," said Kerr.

The ceremony, to be held in the auditorium at the school, will end prior to the televised celebration in Washington D.C. Those attending the Snoqualmie Valley event are encouraged to stay at the school to watch the national dedication on monitors to be set up in the commons area, Kerr said.

The Memorial Day dedication of the national monument brings closure to 11 years of planning aimed at honoring the 16-million Americans who served and fought in World War II.

The memorial, to be located at the National Mall, was authorized by Congress in 1993, with construction beginning in September of 2001.

The official dedication celebration will span four days and will include a World War II-themed reunion exhibition at the National Mall staged in partnership with the Smithsonian Institution's Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, a service of celebration at the Washington National Cathedral and an entertainment salute to World War II veterans from military performing units. Other related activities in cultural venues throughout the city are expected.

In addition, the U.S. Postal Service will introduce a stamp depicting the National World War II Memorial at the memorial site just prior to the official dedication ceremony, sponsored by the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC). More than 96-million stamps will be available among the nation's 38,000 post offices on May 29. Many post offices will conduct similar ceremonies.

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