A great way to spend some time on Memorial Day is to attend one of the many events honoring the men and women who have died while serving our country. The first Memorial Day service in Seattle began in 1927.
Seattle’s First Memorial Day Service, 1927
Arlington Cemetery across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C. is our nation’s most renowned veterans’ cemetery. But for Seattle-area veterans and their spouses, being interred in Virginia would greatly hinder their loved ones from being able to visit their graves as often as they would prefer. As early as 1904, local veterans of the Spanish American War began to search for ways to honor their fallen comrades with a local cemetery of their own. However, the start of the First World War delayed their efforts.
In 1927, Clinton S. Harley, then General Manager of Evergreen Washelli Cemetery in north Seattle, and a veteran of the Spanish American War, offered a large section of the cemetery for the burial of veterans and their spouses. The first Memorial Day Service at the new Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery was held that year on May 30. Seattle’s mayor, Bertha K. Landes, the first woman to head the government of a major American city, called attention to the services and issued a proclamation. It was at this initial Memorial Day Service that the first headstone was placed for United States Marine, Private Thomas McElderry, who died on October 13, 1926.
Today, the Veterans Memorial Cemetery at Evergreen Washelli Memorial Park contains over 5,000 white marble headstones and Memorial Day Services have been held there every year since 1927.
Memorial Day Services in Seattle
Unless otherwise indicated, these ceremonies and events will take place on Monday (Memorial Day). Be sure to check their website for updates in the event of rain.
North or East of Seattle
10:00 AM, Memorial Day Parade in Arlington, WA. Sponsored by American Legion Post 76 along Olympic Ave.
11:00 AM, Memorial Day Parade in Mill Creek, WA. Route is from LA Fitness, 15024 Main St. to City Hall North, 15720 Main St. The emcee will be located by Starbucks 15517 Main St.
11:00 AM, Acacia Memorial Park, 14951 Bothell Way N.E., Seattle
11:00 AM, Sunset Hills Memorial Park, 1215 145th Place SE, Bellevue, WA 98007
Evergreen Washelli Memorial Park, 11111 Aurora Ave N, Seattle, WA 98133. Several events:
- 7:00 AM Flag Placement at in the Veterans Memorial Cemetery.
- 1:30 PM Commemorative Service.
- 3:15 PM Free guided tour to learn about the remarkable lives of the Medal of Honor recipients laid to rest in the park.
10:00 AM, Lake View Cemetery, 1554 15th Ave E, Seattle, WA
2:00 PM, American Legion Post 160, Forest Lawn Cemetery, 6701 30th Ave. S.W., Seattle
Open year-round. The Garden of Remembrance at Benaroya Hall in downtown Seattle is an official state memorial to Washington State citizens who were killed in service during World War II and the conflicts of Korea, Vietnam, Grenada, the Persian Gulf, Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan. The half-acre, L-shaped garden, dedicated on July 4, 1998, is located, at the corner of 2nd Avenue and University Street. The reflecting pools honor those missing in action, a fountain honors those who died in peacetime and other national service, and the golden oak tree that centers the Garden symbolizes remembrance of the cycle of life and honors the fallen and their families. Many visitors create “rubbings” of the names with pencil and paper.
South or West of Seattle
All day, May 25-28, 2018. Arlington Project at Clover Park High School, 11023 Gravelly Lake Drive SW, Lakewood. Since 2008, the 7,000 individual markers in the field of honor at Clover Park High School have been set up for Memorial Day Weekend to mimic the grave markers at Arlington National Cemetery. Though, a far cry from the 400,000 service members buried there, the display offers a way for local families of the fallen to honor them and for all of us to learn from history.
10:00 AM, Sumner Cemetery, 12324 Valley Avenue East, Puyallup, WA 98372
10:00 AM, Enumclaw Evergreen Memorial Park, 23717 S.E. 416th Street, Enumclaw, WA. 98022
11:00 am, Olympia State Capitol Campus, 416 Sid Snyder Avenue SW, Olympia, WA 98504
11:30 AM, Joint Base Lewis-McChord at Camp Lewis Cemetery. JBLM visitors will need to obtain a pass from the Lewis Main Visitor’s Center, located off Exit 120 from Interstate 5. The event is open to the public.
12:00 PM, Ross Plaza, 1500 Ross Loop, DuPont, WA 98327 (south of JBLM)
1:00 PM, Tahoma National Cemetery, 8600 SE 240th Street, Kent, WA 98042-4868
1:00 PM, Veterans Memorial Park, 523 S. 3rd St., Renton, WA
2:00 PM, Mountain View Memorial Park, 4100 Steilacoom Blvd. SW, Lakewood, WA 98499
3:00 PM, Bonney-Watson’s Washington Memorial Park, 16445 International Boulevard, SeaTac, WA 98188