The time tested tradition of honoring veterans on Nov. 11 holds true, and Snoqualmie Valley is no exception. The Snoqualmie Valley Veterans Memorial in the courtyard of the American Legion (at 38625 SE River St. in Snoqualmie) stands to remember those from the Valley who have served their country, and there are several events taking place on or before the holiday around Snoqualmie this Veterans Day.
Snoqualmie Valley Historical Museum assistant director Cristy Lake said the memorial was created by a joint effort between the museum, the city of Snoqualmie, the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), and the Renton-Pickering American Legion.
The memorial is adjacent to the Legion hall and was dedicated on Nov. 11, 2011.
Lake said there were already several small memorials in the Valley, but none included all the names of those in the Valley who had died in the line of duty. So, without a cohesive place to honor everyone at once, Lake said the Legion and the VFW members and veterans’ families would visit all of them each Memorial Day and Veterans Day.
She said the memorial honors all veterans, and features as a centerpiece a monument with the engraved names of Valley residents who lost their lives serving their country. Included are names from Cedar Falls, North Bend, Snoqualmie, Snoqualmie Falls, Fall City, Preston, Carnation and Duvall.
The memorial lists about 80 men and one woman from the Valley who had died in military service, Lake said. Six more names are in the process of being added.
There is a Legacy Tree, and people can purchase bricks — via a donation to the memorial’s upkeep — in the plaza to honor their veterans. The bricks make up the floor of the memorial park.
Lake said the museum served as an umbrella for the original fundraising of the memorial at the time, when both the Legion and the VFW were undergoing transitions in leadership, but now the memorial is operated by the Legion.
“It was a fun project to work on, and it’s a wonderful resource to have in the community,” Lake said.
Rocky Martinez, Valley resident and Marine Corps veteran who served two tours in Iraq, is the commander of American Legion Post 79, a position he has held for two years. He said he was a member of the Legion for six or seven years before being nominated for the position.
The role of commander is to lead the post and keep post officers focused on the direction of the post. Martinez also works full time as a firefighter lieutenant for Eastside Fire and Rescue.
“It’s a great job,” he said.
He said the Legion is responsible for the upkeep of the memorial, including adding names to honor those who gave their lives serving their country. It is an ongoing process, and anyone can alert them of names unintentionally misspelled or left out.
They also continue selling bricks to honor veterans, and he said those can be donated for any veterans, not just veterans who have died.
“We want to honor all of our veterans who have given the time to do their duty and be in the military whether deployed or not. Everyone has a difficult task to contribute to the larger goal,” he said. “It’s important that our veterans continue to be honored.”
He said that every year there are big events at the memorial for Memorial Day, but the site gets many visitors year round.
He explained that the American Legion is one of the oldest veterans service organizations, chartered by congress in 1919. Membership used to be exclusively for veterans who served during a time of conflict, but after a recent change all veterans are now allowed to join.
According to the American Legion’s website, the organization focuses on service to veterans, service members and communities. It quickly evolved from a group of World War I veterans into one of the largest nonprofits. Currently, there are about 2 million members at 13,000 posts globally.
Martinez said that in Snoqualmie the Legion also shares the the post with the Issaquah/Mount Si VFW Post 3436.
The Legion and VFW will be collecting monetary donations this weekend to help with the operations of the post as well as to support some of the programs they have that support veterans. They will also be selling Buddy Poppies.
Legion and VFW members will be at the QFC in North Bend on Saturday, Nov. 9, and Sunday, Nov. 10 from about 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. On Saturday they will also be at Jeanne Hansen Community Park near a soccer tournament.
Martinez said Legion and VFW members also will be attending and helping out at various Veterans Day events in the Valley, including at local schools and at Snoqualmie Casino.
On Nov. 11, the Snoqualmie Tribe, in partnership with the Snoqualmie Casino, American Legion Post 79 and VFW Post 3436, is inviting service members past and present for Veterans Day events.
All day, veterans can eat for free at the Falls Buffet. At 3:30 p.m. a program will take place.
A gift will be presented from the Tribe and the Wounded Warriors Family Support organization to the veterans of Snoqualmie Valley. Vietnam War POW, Maj. Joe Crecca, will be guest speaker.
In a special pinning ceremony, Tribe, VFW and Legion veterans will present Vietnam veterans with the Vietnam War Commemorative lapel pin in appreciation of their service in the Vietnam War.
All veterans also will receive two newly released Challenge Coins from the Tribe and the casino, and there will be cake for everyone in attendance.
Several Snoqualmie Valley School District events were also set to take place this week, after the Record’s press deadline.
Kylie Jacobson is a freshman at Mount Si High School. She is on the leadership committee for Veterans Day events at her school as part of her freshman leadership class, which she said is like ASB (Associated Student Body) but for freshmen.
She said her team planned the school’s pre-assembly veterans breakfast. All veterans were invited to come and enjoy a breakfast buffet cooked up by students in the school’s culinary program.
“We want to get as many veterans out as we can to show appreciation,” she said.
She has been in charge of inviting veterans, advertising for the breakfast event and telling students to invite any veterans they know. She made ads that ran on TV in the school and reached out to local veterans, including school district staff and students’ family members.
“I’m really excited. We have a role,” she said about the breakfast. “We get to go sit at the tables and hear all the stories from the veterans. It feels good to show appreciation.”
The event coordinators expected some 50 to 75 veterans will attend.
“Any veterans who want to come are welcome to,” she said. “We just want to give everyone a chance to tell their story and give recognition for those who have done service for our country.”
On Nov. 6, the breakfast and a Veterans Day assembly took place at Mount Si High School. There was also a breakfast for veterans and an assembly at Cascade View Elementary School. At Chief Kanim Middle School in Fall City, there was an assembly for which students had collected expired U.S. flags to retire as part of the assembly. That school also sponsored a Fallen Heroes Project fundraiser.
On Nov. 7, Twin Falls Middle School hosted veterans for coffee and refreshments followed by a school assembly. Snoqualmie Middle School also had an assembly and a Fallen Heroes Project fundraiser.
On Friday, Nov. 8, there are receptions and school assemblies hosting local veterans at Snoqualmie Elementary, Fall City Elementary, Opstad Elementary and Timber Ridge Elementary. Two Rivers School also has planned a student-only activity to honor veterans.
On Monday, Nov. 11, the school district will be closed in observance of the holiday.
On Nov. 15, North Bend Elementary will have an assembly at 9 a.m. All veterans are welcome to attend, no RSVP required.
“Snoqualmie Valley schools take great pride in welcoming and honoring local veterans and their families – to thank them for their service and their sacrifice,” said Rob Manahan, Snoqualmie Valley School District superintendent. “It’s a special week in our district as students pay tribute to veterans, past and present, who are part of our families, our alumni, our staff, and our community. This year is no exception as the schools plan a variety of thoughtful activities that share our students’ gratitude. Veterans throughout Snoqualmie Valley are invited.”