Each year, we remember and thank our veterans
April 29, 2014
By Kathleen R. Merrill
Six years ago, I wondered how this community would respond to an effort to honor its veterans.
I talked with our then-publisher about what I wanted to do, received a substantial discount in the cost of printing what I had in mind and set about raising the money to launch the project.
My idea — run a photo and some information about every veteran from this community, past and present, whether he or she served in war or peacetime, living or deceased.
Hoping for some assistance with the undertaking, I asked Dave Waggoner, of the local Veterans of Foreign Wars chapter and a Vietnam vet, if he would help.
He agreed and Lest We Forget was born.
Next month, our baby turns five. I couldn’t be more excited.
We started with four pages that included photos of 69 local veterans, and photos and information about as many as we could get of the 19 local veterans who died while serving in World War I, World War II and Vietnam.
The following year, we ran four pages — photos of 111 local veterans, the 19 local veterans who died during wartime and a feature story about World War II veteran Eugene Klineburger.
In year three, we went up to six pages — photos of 146 local veterans, the 19 local veterans who died during wartime and feature stories about World War II veterans William Bentz, Lucille Lundstrom and Norman Peery. Sadly, Bentz died just weeks after we shared his story. But his family told us they had never known the details about his service and they were thrilled we had featured him and got his story before he was gone.
Last year, we again ran six pages — photos of 190 local veterans, the 19 local veterans who died during wartime and feature stories about World War II veterans Richard Murphy and Lou Ortiz.
And now, in our fifth year, we will run the photos of more than 200 local veterans (I’ve added a couple nearly every day these past few weeks), the 19 local veterans who died during wartime and feature stories about other local veterans.
This section has turned out to be bigger and better every year than I ever dreamed. Along the way, we’ve heard countless stories about how much this section means to veterans, their friends and family members, and people who have never served.
If you see one of these brave men and women in our community, please give them your thanks for their service.
We’re hoping to go up to eight pages this year. You can donate to the printing costs via PayPal at www.issaquahpress.com.