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
May 25, 2010
The Issaquah Veteran of Foreign Wars Post 3436 hosts a Memorial Day Service at Hillside Cemetery at 10 a.m. May 31, just below the Veterans Section.
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 Liberty High School Junior Naval ROTC will provide buglers.
VFW sponsored Boy Scout Troop No. 709 and Cub Scout Pack No. 639 will help set up at 9 a.m. May 29 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 their veterans’ graves.
May 25, 2010
Click here to view The Issaquah Press’ Veterans Section.
May 25, 2010
‘Lest we forget’ section honors our veterans
Veterans, we salute you! This issue of The Issaquah Press is the first Memorial Day remembrance of Issaquah men and women veterans “lest we forget.” Please know that your service to our country is appreciated, no matter whether you are currently serving in the armed forces or did your duty decades ago.
We hope this impressive collection of photos remembering our local soldiers will grow and become an annual tradition.
The idea began with two local veterans — Press Editor Kathleen Merrill and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3436 Assistant Quartermaster Dave Waggoner. Together, they approached a few local businesses who willingly agreed to help cover printing costs. The Press publicized the search for local veterans, while Waggoner handed out flyers to his fellow VFW friends and at other locations, including the Issaquah Farmers Market. Read more
April 27, 2010
Once again this year, the local chapter of the Veterans of Foreign Wars plans to continue its two-decade tradition of placing flags and crosses at this year’s Memorial Day service at Hillside Cemetery.
And once again, members need input from the families of veterans buried there to get the job done.
This year’s Memorial Day ceremony is at 10 a.m. May 31 at the cemetery.
In 2008, a resident complained about the placement of crosses at the gravesites. The VFW and Flintoft’s Funeral Home now ask families of veterans buried at the cemetery to sign a form authorizing the placement of various symbols, including a flag, cross, Star of David or other symbols that a family recommends at the gravesite. Families can choose more than one symbol or none.
Some family members may not want their veteran’s grave marked with a cross and it’s possible that a U.S. flag may not be appropriate for some graves, too, he said.
April 20, 2010
David Waggoner seems to be the community’s go-to guy when a volunteer is needed. Take last year, for example.
Waggoner of course accepted the offer when U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert asked him to serve on the board of volunteers of the Honor Flights Project. The project flies World War II veterans to Washington, D.C., to view the national memorial for the war.
“I was honored to give my time and effort to get as many of them back to D.C. as we could,” said Waggoner, 66, himself a veteran of the Vietnam War.
Because of his selfless efforts helping those in the community, the Issaquah Valley Grange is honoring him with its Man of the Year award for 2010 next week.
For a man who seemingly was never short on time to volunteer for one group or another, Waggoner was surprisingly short of words when it came to being honored for his efforts.
“I am humbled by the man of the year,” he said. “I have never been one before. I have no other words to say.”
November 17, 2009
As the ceremonies of Veterans Day fade, one local man is hoping to keep that spirit alive through the rest of the year by launching the Freedom Fighters Honor Flight program.
The national program flies World War II veterans to Washington, D.C., to see the national World War II memorial. The newly formed Puget Sound area chapter will fly its first veterans there March 22 and 23.
“They served our country and it’s a way for us to say thanks and that we didn’t forget,” said David Waggoner, a retired lieutenant colonel who served with the Army in Vietnam and who is commander for Issaquah’s Veterans of Foreign Wars outpost.
He knows all too well what seeing that memorial means, after being drafted and serving in Vietnam and losing many men and friends. Read more
May 19, 2009
The local chapter of the Veterans of Foreign Wars will hold a 10 a.m. Memorial Day service at Hillside Cemetery.
Issaquah City Councilman Fred Butler, a veteran of the U.S. Army, will be the guest speaker. The Issaquah High School junior ROTC will provide a color guard and a 21-gun salute at the conclusion of the service. In observance of Memorial Day, flags will be flown at half-staff.
At 9 a.m. May 23, VFW members and Boy Scouts will begin placing flags and crosses at gravesites, said Dave Waggoner, senior vice commander of the local VFW post.
“We’re one of the last little towns who still holds a service at the cemetery,” Waggoner said.
April 21, 2009
The local chapter of the Veterans of Foreign Wars plans to continue its two-decadelong tradition of placing flags and crosses at this year’s Memorial Day service at Hillside Cemetery. But members need input from the families of veterans buried there to get the job done.
Last year, an Issaquah resident complained about the placement of crosses at the gravesites, said David Waggoner, senior vice commander of the VFW Albert Larson Post No. 3436.
Because of the complaint, the VFW and Flintoft’s Funeral Home are asking families of veterans buried at the cemetery to sign a form authorizing the placement of various symbols and what they want them to be. Those include a flag, a cross, a Star of David or other symbol that a family recommends at the gravesite. Read more
November 18, 2008
For some students, Nov. 11 may have just been a day off from school. But for others, it was a time toremember sacrifices made by many men and women who have served in the country’s armed forces.