It started as a forgotten piece of stone in a quiet, unassuming place. Now, after a years-long collaborative effort, Monroe’s new Veterans Memorial Monument is ready to be revealed.
The Veterans Memorial Monument unveiling ceremony takes place 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 5, at Monroe’s Lake Tye Park. Project contributors will gather to celebrate the memorial, including members of the American Legion Arthur Kincaid Post No. 58, the Monroe Historical Society, Park Place Middle School teachers Dottie Simoni and Tonia Boyle, Boy Scout Troop 53 Eagle Scout candidate Sam Thomas and the city of Monroe. Army Reserves Colonel Dr. James Swenson is the keynote speaker.
“Please come out and join us to celebrate our veterans and community pulling together to accomplish this monument,” said Monroe Mayor Geoffrey Thomas in a news release. “The time and effort that went into the research, planning and unveiling does not go unnoticed.”
Fundraising for the project began last year, and the groundbreaking ceremony took place in June. In August, the project achieved honors through the Snohomish County Council and Republic Services, based on a recommendation made by Councilmember Hans Dunshee.
Project collaborators were recognized with the 2016 Community Stewardship Award during a Snohomish County Council meeting and at a ceremony at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds, and were presented with a $3,000 grant from Republic Services.
The new ADA-accessible monument is located in the grassy area west of Fryelands Boulevard and east of the Lake Tye concession stand. It includes a 30-foot solar-powered lighted flagpole featuring an American and POW/MIA flag. The memorial is made of black granite and rests atop a larger base.
The new memorial replaces the Legion’s forgotten stone World War II monument at Memorial Field, which was dedicated during a special ceremony in 1951. Tucked silently away on Kelsey Street, the original monument sparked the community-wide effort to bring recognition to Monroe’s war heroes by placing it in a more prominent location. The project evolved over time, resulting in a new monument constructed by Thomas, in an attempt to earn his Eagle Scout rank.
Students at Park Place Middle School contributed to the project by engaging in a comprehensive research project meant to bring to life the 18 Monroe soldiers who were killed in WWII.
The new memorial honors all veterans, rather than those from any specific military conflict, with special recognition given to Monroe veterans who lost their lives in WWII.