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Across Our State

Monuments and markers honor those who sacrificed for us

by Jerri Honeyford

Sunnyside has a beautiful memorial honoring the men and women of our area who served us in the Armed Services of our country. The names are listed on the stones that stand in silent tribute every day and every night in our cemetery on Van Belle Road.

Across the State there are monuments and memorials on the Capitol campus which are dedicated to the memory of these same people along with their companions from every corner of Washington.

The most impressive of these is the Winged Victory monument to World War I veterans. The figures are 12 feet tall, sculpted of bronze by Alanzo Victor Lewis of Seattle, and were dedicated on Memorial Day, 1938.

Winged Victory looks like an avenging angel pointing upward. She is surrounded by a sailor, a marine, a soldier and a Red Cross nurse. They stand on a high pedestal in the middle of the main driveway north of the Insurance Building. It is the oldest of the war monuments.

The most recent monument, dedicated on Memorial Day, 1999, is for the veterans of World War II. It is located on the northeast corner of the campus across 11th Avenue from the General Administration Building. The design by Simon Kogan of Olympia is unusual and meaningful. Upon a cast-bronze wheat field there are 4,000 wheat stalks, each symbolizing a Washington life lost in the war. Around the field are large stones with the names of significant battles and events of the war.

Across Capital Way on the walkway from the main campus to the Natural Resources Building is the Korean War Memorial. This one impacts me as I see three life-size soldiers huddled around a too-small campfire. They look cold, hungry and in great need of home and a hot bath. This one is the work of Deborah Copenhaver of Spokane. It was dedicated on the 40th anniversary of the end of the Korean war.

The Vietnam Veterans memorial is easy to miss, but worth finding. It is on the lawn on the east side of the Insurance Building built as a wall against a small hill. The granite slabs that make up the wall are filled with the names of a little more than 1,000 from Washington state that did not return home. There is a place for a flag to be inserted by each name and many stop to do that.

We often put flags in for the three young men listed there from our area. This monument was designed by Kris Snider of Seattle.

Across the grass to the north is a granite obelisk naming Washington citizens who earned the Congressional Medal of Honor. This is our country's highest military honor. Of interest is that it is a replica of the national Medal of Honor memorial located in Valley Forge, Pa.

The marker dedicated to those missing in action or who were prisoners of war is behind or north of the Insurance Building very near Winged Victory. It is a marble square with a granite top and remembers that sacrifice.

Near the World War II monument is a marker telling where the first territorial governor, Isaac Stevens, and the first state governor, Elisha Ferry, lived. It is a bronze tablet under an old tree which remains even though the house has been gone for many years.

On the Legislative Building at the southeast corner is a bronze tablet marking the site of the first capitol building used by the state. It was built in 1855 and was on the property donated by Edmund Sylvester, an Olympia businessman, for the capital site.

These are the monuments and markers I have visited on the Washington State Capitol campus. When you come to visit, you will already know a bit about them and where to find them.

It is good for us to remember our history and especially to honor those who have served and sacrificed for us.

Jerri Honeyford, wife of Sen. Jim Honeyford (R-Sunnyside),provides her Across our State column as a means to keep local residents informed on what is currently happening in Olympia.

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