The Northshore School District (NSD) held a dedication ceremony for the district’s newly installed Veterans Memorial on May 27 at Pop Keeney Stadium.
The 16 names engraved in the memorial represent NSD alumni who lost their lives while serving in the performance of their duty in the United States Military to preserve the country’s freedom.
The Veterans Memorial has been in the works for the past three years. First introduced by Post 3348 and Post 4314 Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) of the United States, the groups approached the district about creating the memorial.
Jim Morrison, a member of the VFW and a Bothell High School graduate of 1964, said after several of his friends had died in combat he made the “commitment to keep their memories alive.”
“Even 50 years later, their lives [and service] still had an impact on us,” he said.
Through the district, Northshore Schools Foundation (NSF), the VFW and local businesses and community members, more than $30,000 was raised to create the Veterans Memorial.
“We wanted to create a memorial that honors the district and serves the family and the community,” Morrison said. “We hope it will bring a deeper understanding and appreciation for the work and sacrifice of each person.”
NSD Superintendent, Dr. Michelle Reid, presented at the dedication ceremony.
She said the memorial celebrates the freedom of the nation and honors the members “who paid the ultimate sacrifice.” Reid recited Mother Teresa’s St. Francis Prayer, also known as a “Prayer for Peace.”
“We hope this memorial will be a healing touch to veterans and helps us remember those who have fallen,” she said.
The event’s keynote speaker, Captain Dr. Jeffrey Tomlin, a BHS graduate of 1972, explained the importance of the memorial.
“Memorial Day is the day where the country comes together and remembers those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom,” he said. “There’s something special when a community comes together to honor their fallen. We do our best to honor them and their loved ones…we owe them a debt of gratitude.”
Tomlin said Memorial Day is a day that serves as a focus for remembering.
“Wishing someone a ‘Happy Memorial Day’ isn’t really possible,” he said. “It’s a day set for focusing and remembering those who aren’t here.”
He said wishing someone a good Memorial Day is more fitting, as it wishes for people to take time to remember.
“If you lose your memory, you lose yourself,” he said. “Taking time to remember is the only thing we can offer in return for those who made the sacrifice. We celebrate Memorial Day through acts [such as this memorial] and teach the next generation to have hearts of gratitude.”
Following the ceremony, members of the audience stood around the memorial in silence.
Rudy Plancich, who served as an ammunition specialist in the Korean War, said he was happy the Veterans Memorial was made.
“It’s something that’s needed for the next generation,” he said. “It’s recognition of what freedom is…it made me realize it more now…it hits us harder now that we’re older.”
Plancich said he hopes others see and understand the meaning of the memorial.
“I think it’ll help them see the real meaning,” he said. “Just sitting there throughout the ceremony, I had tears in my eyes…this is important.”