Veterans Day ceremony honors service

November 8, 2011

By David Hayes

Dave Waggoner is tireless in his efforts to ensure both today’s military members are honored and yesterday’s heroes are not forgotten.

His cornerstone event, the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 3436 Veterans Day Service, now enters its fifth year. In a nod to the unpredictable weather, Waggoner, himself a veteran of the Vietnam War, has scheduled the event indoors again, this time at the Issaquah Valley Senior Center.

If you go

VFW Post No. 3436 Veterans Day service

  • 11 a.m. Nov. 11
  • Issaquah Valley Senior Center
  • 75 N.E. Creek Way

Veterans Day happenings

Garden Club veterans seminar

The Garden Club retirement community is offering a free veterans’ benefits seminar at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 15 at 13350 S.E. 26th St., Bellevue. RSVP or learn more about the seminar by calling 643-7111.

Free massage

Issaquah Massage Envy offers a “thank you” on Veterans Day with free, one-hour massage sessions for active military, veterans and their spouses. The Issaquah Massage Envy is at 735 N.W. Gilman Blvd., Suite E. Proof of military status is requested. The event requires an appointment and there are a limited number of free massage appointments at each clinic. Call 391-4455 for reservations or go to www.massageenvy.com for locations.

Free car wash

Brown Bear Car Wash offers free Bear Essential tunnel washes to current military personnel, veterans and their spouses on Veteran’s Day at 41 Western Washington locations. Issaquah’s Brown Bear is at 22121 S.E. 56th St.

This year’s 45-minute event will feature a 21-gun salute by the Issaquah High School Naval Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps unit and a presentation by its color guard. The guest speaker is City Councilman Fred Butler, who is also a veteran.

A cornerstone of each year’s ceremony is the presentation of 10 new flags from the VFW to the city, one for each flag pole in the city (there is also one in the cemetery, which does not need one this year, Waggoner said).

“It’s a commitment I made to honor all of our uniformed men and women in harm’s way,” Waggoner said.

Another tradition returning to the ceremony this year is honoring one of Issaquah’s own fallen, who are immortalized on the monument at Veterans Memorial Park. Waggoner will give a 10-minute presentation about Elizabeth Erikson, the only woman honored on the memorial.

Although not originally from Issaquah, Erikson grew up here when her father took over as manager at Preston Mill.

After going through the Issaquah schools system and later graduating from the University of Washington, Erikson moved to Yakima.

“I was surprised to learn in my research she learned to be a pilot by flying crop dusters,” Waggoner said.

Erikson then became a WASP — Woman Army Service Pilot — where she had to overcome prejudice from the male pilots. Waggoner said pilots like her were actually the ones who flew across country to teach male pilots how to fly the new B29.

Erikson was killed in 1944 in an air collision over Sweetwater, Texas. Her body was returned to Seattle and was buried in Lake View Cemetery.

“She was never given a military funeral, and I’m hoping to rectify that some day,” Waggoner said.

David Hayes: 392-6434, ext. 237, or dhayes@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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