Issaquah ceremony offers chance to reflect on 9/11

September 6, 2011

“To me, it was one of the worst days in our nation’s history,” Eastside Fire & Rescue Deputy Chief Bud Backer said of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

But the way the country came together in the aftermath of those attacks can be pointed to as a source of pride, Backer added.

To mark the 10th anniversary of 9/11, the city of Issaquah, EFR, city police and other civic groups are joining in a public ceremony 1 p.m. Sept. 11 at the Issaquah Community Center.

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Patriots sharpshooters hit No. 1 spot in nation

July 5, 2011

Liberty High School air rifle team students Sean Denson (left), Jacky Cheung, John Lorenz, Murphy Ransier and Tyler Snook are the scholastic military champions after placing first at the NRA National Air Gun Competition. By Art Weatherford

After an incredible show of teamwork, Liberty High School’s National Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps placed first nationwide as scholastic military champions at the National Rifle Association Air Gun Competition on June 23-25.

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Liberty High School sharpshooters hit No. 1 spot in nation

June 30, 2011

NEW — 6 p.m. June 30, 2011

After an incredible show of teamwork, Liberty High School’s National Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps placed first nationwide as scholastic military champions at the National Rifle Association Air Gun Competition on June 23-25.

“As a team, they scored better than any other team in the nation,” Liberty naval science instructor Al Torstenson said.

Five Liberty air rifle team students — including graduating seniors Tyler Snook, Jackie Chueng and Murphy Ransier, incoming senior John Lorenz and incoming junior Sean Denson — flew to Camp Perry, Ohio, for the championship.

The coaches, Art Weatherford and senior naval science instructor Cmdr. Dan Joslin, accompanied the team.

Though the students won first place, “probably everything that could go wrong, went wrong,” such as equipment malfunctions, Weatherford said. But, “It wasn’t anything the kids weren’t able to rise to.”

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Veterans of Foreign Wars offer scholarships

June 7, 2011

The Veterans of Foreign Wars has scholarship programs for students in grades three through 12.

The top award is $30,000 from the national VFW with multiple awards available from the local Post 3436.

Participants can enter every year as there’s a new theme each time.

The programs are:

  • Voice of Democracy — for grades nine through 12 — 2011-12 theme “Is There Pride in Serving in our Military?”
  • Patriot’s Pen — for grades six through eight — 2011-12 theme “Are You Proud of Your Country?”
  • State VFW Youth Essay Program — for grades three through five — 2011-12 theme “What is an American?”
  • Boy Scout of the Year

There is also a program to enter your favorite teacher to receive an award.

Learn about the programs and deadlines or enter at www.vfw.com, or call 392-6539 or 221-2503.

Issaquah VFW post plans Memorial Day service

May 24, 2011

The Issaquah Veteran of Foreign Wars Post 3436 hosts a Memorial Day service at Hillside Cemetery, just below the Veterans Section, at 10 a.m. May 30.

The Issaquah High School Junior Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps unit will provide the color guard and honor guard for a 21-gun salute.

The VFW-sponsored Boy Scout Troop No. 709 and Cub Scout Pack No. 639 will help set up at 9 a.m. May 28 and take down decorations from the cemetery after the ceremony. There will be someone at the cemetery between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday to hand out forms for people to specify the symbols — such as crosses and flags — they want on veterans’ graves.

In case of inclement weather, the ceremony will be held at the Issaquah Valley Senior Center, 75 N.E. Creek Way.

Off the Press

May 24, 2011

Here’s to those who help us remember

Sometimes we all need a little reminder. Thank goodness we have people like Dave Waggoner in the Issaquah community.

Bob Taylor Press sports editor

Waggoner, a quartermaster in the Issaquah Veterans of Foreign Wars post, once left a small U.S. flag at the office so I would always remember Memorial Day. The flag still flies above my desk.

Each year, Waggoner, members of the VFW post and local Boy Scouts plant flags and/or crosses on the graves of former veterans at Hillside Cemetery for Memorial Day and Veterans Day. Waggoner makes sure these former vets are remembered.

Waggoner expressed a concern in an April Issaquah Press story that people are forgetting U.S. veterans. With Memorial Day coming up, none of us should forget veterans, especially those in our family.

I do a roll call every Memorial Day, setting aside some time to remember the veterans in my family.

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Honor veterans in Memorial Day section

April 12, 2011

Dave Waggoner said he is worried that people are forgetting about U.S. veterans.

He recalled a phrase — selective disengagement — that journalist Bob Woodward had used.

“He said people across the United States selectively disengage from war, whether it be Afghanistan or Iraq or Korea or Vietnam or World War II,” said Waggoner, quartermaster with the Issaquah Veterans of Foreign Wars post.

When society selectively disengages from wars, it loses focus on the people who fight them and their experiences.

“The cost of war is people, and the people of Issaquah paid that price for their service,” Waggoner said.

The Issaquah Press is working to reverse that trend. For the second consecutive year, in its Memorial Day issue, The Press will publish profiles of Issaquah men and women who served in the U.S. armed forces.

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Issaquah students serve as legislative pages

March 8, 2011

Iman Baghai, an Issaquah High School 10th-grader, and Issaquah Middle School eighth-grader Justine Connelly recently served as a legislative pages in January, seen here on the floor of the state House of Representatives with Rep. Marcie Maxwell, D-Renton.

Students ages 14-17 are eligible to serve as a legislative page in the state House or Senate, where for one week, they deliver messages for lawmakers and learn first hand about the democratic process

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Milestone anniversary fosters new hope for veterans

February 8, 2011

Gathered for their regular meeting on Jan. 18, members of the Issaquah Veterans of Foreign Wars, Post No. 3436, drank coffee, traded stories and conducted business as usual.

Yet despite the routine atmosphere, this was no ordinary day.

Exactly 75 years earlier, the original founders of the Albert Larson Post signed the VFW charter, establishing one of Issaquah’s most historic organizations, which has been serving the city ever since.

“They formed 75 years ago, but are still going strong,” said Richard Whipple, the adjutant and quartermaster of the Department of Washington. “The recognition lets them know they’ve done a fantastic job.”

At the meeting, Whipple presented the post with a 75th anniversary certificate, known as the Diamond Jubilee Award. It’s an honor only a select group of posts have achieved, yet the local VFW members said they’re simply doing their duty to help the community.

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Ceremony recognizes local veterans’ service

November 16, 2010

Never forget.

The theme was reiterated throughout the annual Veterans Day ceremony at City Hall Nov. 11, hosted by the Issaquah Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3436.

Dave Waggoner, the master of ceremonies, began by asking the 20 or so veterans present, scattered about the filled-to-capacity Eagle Room, to stand and be recognized for their service to their country, from World War II to present day.

Tribute was given to two Issaquah residents who paid the ultimate sacrifice in service to their country. Marilyn Batura fought back tears sharing her brother George Larsen’s tale. His life as a goat herder in Issaquah on the family farm was cut short, when shortly after unselfishly joining the Army at the onset of World War II, he was one of thousands killed in the battle to retake Okinawa.

His name appears on the monument with 18 other names at Issaquah’s Veterans Memorial Field. Along with Emmett “Skip” McDonald, who was memorialized at the ceremony by classmate Linda Hjelm.

“You can walk past that memorial and see those 19 names, yet not know any of their stories,” she said.

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