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.
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
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.
November 16, 2010
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.
November 11, 2010
UPDATED — 4:15 p.m. Nov. 11, 2010
The theme was reiterated throughout the annual Veterans Day ceremony at City Hall on Thursday, hosted by the Issaquah Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3436.
November 11, 2010
November 9, 2010
Dave Waggoner is a stickler for military tradition and no other symbol better pays homage to those serving in uniform than the American flag.
“I’ve always wanted people who’ve paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country to never be forgotten, for their actions to be respected,” said Waggoner, himself a veteran of the Vietnam War.
That’s why he spearheaded the effort to ensure that the city of Issaquah always had new flags flying on its 11 flagpoles. In the continually growing tradition, the Issaquah Veterans of Foreign Wars, Post No. 3436, hosts its fourth annual Veterans Day Service on Nov. 11.
Waggoner will present new flags purchased by the VFW to City Councilwoman Eileen Barber. Barber’s family has long ties to military service, from her father in World War II to her nephew, who is just back from serving his second tour in Iraq. She said she looks forward to the ceremony each year.
November 9, 2010
Veterans Day history is worth understanding
Thursday, Nov. 11 is Veterans Day. At precisely 11 a.m., a wreath will be laid at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery to honor and thank those who have served in the armed services of the United States.
The time, 11 a.m., is symbolic. It was at this time on Nov. 11, 1918 (the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month), that a cease-fire agreement was signed, bringing an official end to World War I, “the war to end all wars.” Read more
October 12, 2010
June 1, 2010
More than 100 people showed up Memorial Day at Hillside Cemetery to pay their respects to veterans, so it was a shame the annual ceremony had to be cancelled.
There is little parking at the cemetery. Most of it is along roads through the place. Unfortunately, many graves are close to those roads. It’s a juggling act to find a spot where you can be off the road enough and also away from nearby grave markers.
People were sad to be turned away. But Dave Waggoner, assistant quartermaster of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3436, who heads up the ceremony, said safety for everyone was the main concern.
On May 29, as volunteers were walking the rows, placing flags and crosses on the final resting places of veterans, people were slipping on the already saturated, muddy ground. It was much worse two days later. In fact, cars that had pulled off the road were leaving deep ruts in places, and by Memorial Day one had even driven over a headstone.
Next year, a contingency plan will be made for inclement weather. So, if you turned out for this year’s ceremony only to be turned away, please return. It’s so important these men and women are not forgotten.
I had the pleasure of meeting a man out there in the rain who refuses to forget — Art Converse who lives in the May Valley area. Art served four years in Vietnam. On Memorial Day, he came to the cemetery looking for the grave of Robert Hoskins, one of 19 men and women named on the monument at Veterans Memorial Field as being killed or missing in action during wartime.
Art had seen Hoskins’ picture in our section “Lest we forget” that ran May 26. Art said he noticed Hoskins was a fellow Marine and he didn’t know whether the young man, who was 19 when he died, still had family in the area who would remember him.
His kindness brought tears to my eyes, as it does now to recount the tale. Art brought some flags to the cemetery, and specifically one to put on Hoskins’ grave. I watched him for a moment — without a coat, without an umbrella — at the grave we directed him to. He stood for a while, and knelt at some point, placing the flag in the soft ground. He also put flags on two other veterans’ graves.
Thank you, Art, for your service, and for remembering the service of others. Read more