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Weekend Cover Story

Local veterans’ memorials worth experience

Pierce, Thurston counties have walls, fixtures of all sizes

Published: 02:15PM November 7th, 2013
Local veterans’ memorials worth experience

Scott Hansen/Northwest Guardian

The Washington State Vietnam Veterans Memorial has the names of more than 1,000 men and women from the state that never returned from the conflict. The names are engraved on the memorial are from 1963 to 1975, the order in which those service members gave their lives.

With the large active duty, veteran and military retiree community centered on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, communities in Pierce and Thurston counties have chosen to honor their residents’ military service with several memorial parks and monuments.

Even though many of the parks honor servicemen and women who gave their lives in service to their country, they also celebrate the service of all military veterans. This Veterans Day, a journey to any of these local attractions would be worth the trip.

DuPont Community Memorial Wall, 1500 Ross Loop, DuPont

This monument includes the Global War on Terrorism Memorial and the Wilburn K. Ross Memorial.

The first honors all the citizens of Dupont who served their nation after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, and pays special tribute to several JBLM service members who lost their lives in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The second is named in honor of Master Sgt. Wilburn K.

Ross, a member of G Company, 30th Infantry, 3rd Infantry Division, who fought against an enemy attack Oct. 30, 944, near St. Jacques, France.

After his unit lost 55 of 88 men, he broke the enemy assault with one machine gun after five continuous hours of combat and forced the German troops to retreat.

For his actions, he was awarded the Medal of Honor. Ross retired from the Army in 1964 and resides in Dupont.

Puyallup Veterans Memorial, 330 S. Meridian, Puyallup This memorial honors all veterans, past and present, who have served their country or died in military conflict. It is in downtown Puyallup’s historic Pioneer Park. The interactive memorial depicts a Soldier bending down to help a comrade. The Soldier’s hand is extended, symbolizing the need to remember those who have fought for freedom. A small courtyard surrounds the statue, where engraved bricks are placed. A bronze plaque lists the names of Puyallup natives who have lost their lives in war. Washington State Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Sid Snyder Ave. SW, Olympia

Unveiled on Memorial Day, May 25, 1987, the monument is located east of the state insurance building on the Washington’s Capitol campus. The site provides visitors with a spot to remember the more than 1,000 men and women from Washington state who never returned from the Vietnam conflict. The memorial reaches 7 feet at its highest point and 1 foot at its lowest point. Sixteen green granite slabs make up the wall and are positioned so that they are accessible to all who come to reflect and remember. The names engraved on the memorial are in chronological order from 1963 to 1975, the order in which those veterans gave their lives. A small cross engraved next to some names note those who remain missing in action.

Tacoma War Memorial Park, N. Skyline Drive and 6th Ave., Tacoma

This park, located near the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, is an attractive memorial to those who lost their lives in World War II. A park-and-ride lot built at the intersection of 6th Avenue and Skyline Drive obscures the park, but visitors can take a short walk through the park and ride to reach the beginning of the park, a small, sheltered memorial. The memorial contains a ship’s bell and information about the park and those it honors. Continuing down the hill, there are smaller memorials dedicated to ships with special ties to Tacoma and its surrounding communities. Near the bottom of the slope that makes up the park, there is a flag pole, a memorial stone and flower beds.

Port Orchard Veterans Memorial Park, Port Orchard

This park was once a Navy and shipyard housing area for workers during World War II. After the area was torn down in the early 1980s, a set of guns once belonging to the USS Flint were brought to the area and placed as a memorial to all Veterans. The USS Flint was decommissioned in Bremerton, Wash., in 1947. Crew members of the USS Stennis and their families restored the guns to their original condition.

Enumclaw Veterans Memorial Park, 991 Roosevelt Ave., Enumclaw

Built from 1995 to 1997, this memorial honors local veterans for their service in the nation’s Armed Forces. The memorial includes an enormous replica of a Purple Heart medal positioned in front of a brass plaque. The plaque bears the names of 90 Enumclaw area residents killed in the line of duty during World War I, World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. The replica is sheltered by a stately, white-columned enclosure, and an American flag is mounted on top.