Where to honor Memorial Day in the South Sound

Memorial Day commemorates U.S. men and women who died while in the military service

By Kim Thompson, Melissa Renahan on May 20, 2014

There are many places around the South Sound to honor those that have given the ultimate sacrifice this Memorial Day, both on Joint Base Lewis-McChord and in the cities and towns surrounding the base.

For instance, the Pointe du Hoc Foundation, a nonprofit devoted to the soldier and families of the 2nd Ranger Battalion on JBLM, has been raising funds and creating the 2nd Ranger Battalion Memorial Park. Nov. 7, 2012, phase I of the memorial, which lies adjacent to the 2/75 Ranger Headquarters, was dedicated. The second phase of construction began this past winter and included stone-engraved recognition of Rangers by era, raised granite pillars inscribed with the Ranger Creed, as well as the installation of some landscaping and lighting. As of now, the memorial should be completed in the next few months.

JBLM's Memorial Park, which is located on 4.2 acres on JBLM Main near the Cascade Community Center, has room for 17 specific memorials from different units on the base and is intended to honor the soldiers who have died since 9/11. Next to the Memorial Park is the future site of Reflection Park, a planned 6-acre, privately funded effort to memorialize fallen Washington state servicemembers from WWI to the present.

Over the years, it's been a timeless tradition and a day of special remembrance that brings together the local community to honor and celebrate the men and women who have served and sacrificed for our country.  It is with great honor that the Pierce County Veterans Advisory Council (PCVAC) and Mountain View Funeral Home, Memorial Park, & Crematory proudly present their annual Veterans Memorial Day Service to be held at 2 p.m. Monday, May 26 at the Joint Services Memorial in Mountain View's Garden of Honor section at Mountain View Memorial Park in Lakewood. The general public is warmly welcomed to participate.

Outside the gates, the Tacoma War Memorial Park, located on North Skyline Drive and Sixth Avenue near the Narrows Bridge is dedicated to those who lost their lives in World War II. The small memorial contains a ship's bell, information about the park and those it honors. There are also smaller memorials dedicated to war ships with special ties to Tacoma and the surrounding communities.

The Puyallup Veterans Memorial, located at 330 S. Meridian in historic Pioneer Park, honors all veterans who have served their country or died in military conflict. A statue depicts a soldier bending down to help a comrade and a courtyard surrounds the statue. A bronze plaque also lists the names of Puyallup residents who perished downrange.

The Global War on Terrorism Memorial in DuPont, located in Ross Plaza downtown (which happens to be named for Congressional Medal of Honor winner Wilburn K. Ross) was created to honor any DuPont resident that gave their life since 9/11. The 3-part monument has one eight foot wall in the middle dedicated to the servicemembers and then a six and half foot slab on both sides, one with the names of the fallen and one describing the war on terrorism.

Within Olympia, there are six veteran memorials located on and around the capital campus. Those include the Korean War Memorial, Vietnam Veterans' Memorial, Winged Victory Monument in honor of World War I, Word War II Memorial, POW/MIA Memorial and the Medal of Honor Memorial, which is dedicated to state residents who have received the nation's highest military decoration.

While it is not yet complete, University Place has been developing its own Veterans Plaza, located off of Bridgeport Way, that will serve as a permanent place within the city to honor and celebrate the service and sacrifice of all veterans from University Place, both living and deceased, as well acknowledge their families. This summer, the ‘Circle of Honor' portion, which includes a center circle area with multiple flagpoles and stone pylons around the perimeter, will be built. Construction of the ‘Donors Plaza' portion, featuring benches, greenery and donor tiles, is tentatively set to follow in the fall of 2014.