LOCAL NEWS

Seattle commits to preserve dilapidated Memorial Wall

Nov 20, 2017, 5:00 PM | Updated: Nov 21, 2017, 7:28 am
memorial wall...
The City of Seattle and the school district agreed in 2017 to preserve the Memorial Wall at Memorial Stadium. (File photo, Feliks Banel)
(File photo, Feliks Banel)
LISTEN: Seattle commits to preserve dilapidated Memorial Wall

Years of concern over the fate of a memorial to Seattle School District alums who died in World War II were put to rest during a news conference Monday afternoon at Memorial Stadium.

RELATED: Reading the names of war dead on Seattle Center memorial wall

Both Mayor Tim Burgess and Seattle School Board Vice President Leslie Harris voiced the city’s and the school district’s commitment to preserving and restoring the limestone monument that lists the names of 800 former students who died during military service 70 years ago.

“As we rebuild the stadium, we are agreed that the renovation will honor and preserve Memorial Wall, a monument inscribed with the names of former Seattle students who died in World War II,” said Mayor Burgess, reading from prepared remarks as he stood at a podium on the one-yard line at the east end of the historic field.

Burgess made his remarks after a signing ceremony for a partnership agreement with Seattle Public Schools to address joint planning and shared facility expansion/renovation projects at Fort Lawton, Seattle Center, and Memorial Stadium.

Speaking with KIRO Radio after the news conference, Seattle School Board Vice President Leslie Harris was short on specifics but emphatic about the monument’s presence at Memorial Stadium as an integral part of the community.

“The Memorial Wall will be preserved and honored, that is a fundamental baseline understanding with the city,” Harris said. “The folks that died in World War II, our students, will not be forgotten as part of this redevelopment plan.”

“Will not happen!” Harris added for emphasis.

Why, exactly, is this old and neglected – even forgotten – memorial so important to the Seattle School Board in 2017, especially as it looks to the future?

“Because folks back in the 1940s put that wall up with trust, and we can’t breach that trust now,” Harris said. “You know, a promise is a promise. The names of the folks on that wall are sacred and we recognize that, as I believe does the city.”

Leslie Harris says that the memorial may be moved from its current location as part of the renovation plans and then relocated within the new or renovated complex, but she, also said, “it will not disappear.”

Harris is clearly unhappy with the present state of the memorial wall, with cars parked just a few feet away from its columns of names, its dilapidated fountains filled with mud, plus non-functional lighting along overgrown vegetation dotted with rodent burrows and garbage.

“With all due respect, it’s not highlighted and enhanced now, and that needs to happen,” Harris said. “It’s frankly embarrassing, so we’ll change that.”

When asked about an earlier announcement from the city and school board in August regarding the future of the stadium – an announcement that made no mention at all of the fate or future of the Memorial Wall – Harris was matter-of-fact.

“I’m not sure that your Seattle School Board directors were as involved in August as they are presently,” Harris said. “[But] I can assure you that [now] we are passionate about preserving and enhancing [the Memorial Wall].”

Among the other dignitaries in attendance was Seattle City Council President Bruce Harrell, who served as mayor briefly after Ed Murray resigned in September, but who stepped down in order to keep his council presidency.

Apart from the political playmaking of late, Harrell also took part in one of the most exciting football games ever played in the Northwest. That game also happened to be played at Memorial Stadium more than 40 years ago.

RELATED: Seattle’s Memorial Wall slowly reveals its secrets

“1975 Blanchet versus Garfield, four overtimes, but unfortunately, we lost the game to Blanchet and Joe Steele and company,” Councilmember Harrell said, as the rain began to intensify and the politicians and media cleared the field.

“And those memories are still with me as Garfield takes on Rainier Beach next week,” he added.

More from Feliks Banel.

Local News

early primary, kim wyman...
Nick Bowman

Report: Washington Sec. of State Wyman could be leaving role for new job with Biden administration

Sources tell CNN that Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman could be leaving her role for a new job with the Department of Homeland Security.
23 hours ago
vaccine, booster doses...
MyNorthwest Staff

Booster doses of COVID vaccines available in Washington for eligible individuals

Booster doses of all three COVID-19 vaccine types are now available for certain individuals in Washington, and can be safely mixed and matched.
23 hours ago
salmon hatchery...
Dalton Day

Potential ‘irreparable damage’ to Puget Sound orcas over alleged illegal salmon hatchery expansion

Conservationists allege that Fish and Wildlife has expanded salmon hatcheries without lawful compliance under SEPA, thereby damaging native salmon and orca whales.
23 hours ago
seattle relief fund...
Kathryn Altena

Mayor launches Seattle Relief Fund to help families impacted by COVID

Seattle city leaders announced the launch of a new relief fund Monday to help struggling families impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. 
23 hours ago
unemployment...
MyNorthwest Staff

State recovers $495,000 in stolen unemployment benefits with ‘innovative’ legal strategy

For the first time, Attorney General Bob Ferguson has used asset forfeiture to repossess $495,000 in fraudulent unemployment claims.
23 hours ago
Washington Daylight Saving Time...
Nick Bowman

Washington looks for ‘alternative’ paths to end years-long wait for permanent Daylight Saving Time

With the state setting their clocks back again on Nov. 7, Sen. Murray says her office is ramping up work to end the twice-yearly time changes.
23 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Medicare open enrollment for 2022 starts Oct. 15 and SHIBA can help!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]
...

How to Have a Stress-Free Real Estate Experience

The real estate industry has adapted and sellers are taking full advantage of new real estate models. One of which is Every Door Real Estate.
...
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
...
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
...
Marysville Police Department

Police Opportunities in a Growing, Supportive Washington Community

Marysville PD is looking for both lateral and entry level officers. Begin or continue your career in law enforcement for a growing, supportive community.
...
Comcast

Small, Minority-Owned Businesses in King County and Pierce County Can Now Apply For $10,000 Relief Grants Through Comcast RISE

Businesses in King County and Pierce County can apply beginning on October 1, 2021, at www.ComcastRISE.com for a chance to receive a $10,000 relief grant.
Seattle commits to preserve dilapidated Memorial Wall