What started years ago as a simple Memorial Day ceremony in Woodbine Cemetary has now morphed into a major event for the city of Puyallup. Volunteers Jack Taylor and Larry Heires, both Vietnam veterans, work year-round to make the event special for those who have risked or lost their lives for their fellow Americans.
“It’s a remembrance of the people we served with and didn’t come back,” Heires said. “You promise yourself that you won’t forget them. I jumped at the chance because I love being a part of it. There’s a lot of community members and organizations that are giving their time to help support us.”
The event is slated for 1 p.m. Sunday (May 24) at Pioneer Park Pavilion, and is open to the public. Heires and Taylor said in the past few years there have been hundreds of people gathering to pay their respects to veterans and active-duty soldiers alike.
“There’s only one time a year when the names of those people who were killed were remembered,” Taylor said. “That’s why we put on the program, so they aren’t forgotten. There’s names from World War I and World War II that nobody has ever heard about, but somebody knew them and they were Puyallup people.”
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This year, state Rep. Hans Zeiger, R-Puyallup, will speak at the event. His message will tell the story of three Puyallup boys who were neighbors along Fruitland and Pioneer nearly 80 years ago.
“It’s a time to remember stories from those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom,” Zeiger said about the upcoming event.
Zeiger will tell the story of Al Tresch, Bobby Bigelow and Eddie Myers. Each were willing to sacrifice their lives for their country during WW II. Only Tresch returned to Puyallup; Myers and Bigelow were both killed during the war.
“It’s been eight decades since Eddie, Bobbie and Al grew up together here in Puyallup,” Zeiger wrote in his prepared remarks for the event. “Our community has grown and changed since then. Those of us who call this place home are blessed more than we even know. And who can we thank for such a thing? It’s those neighbor boys who grew up in Puyallup and men and women like them who rose to save the free world.”
In addition to Zeiger’s speech, the U.S. Navy’s Five Star Brass Quintet and the Clan Gordon Pipe Band will perform. Mayor John Knutsen will share some remarks, congressman Denny Heck will speak, and the names of Puyallup residents who lost their lives while serving their country will be read.
“To those of you here who rose in your own ways in that war and other wars to the defense of freedom, please know of this community’s unending gratitude,” Zeiger said. “Thank you.”