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Effort to Honor Veterans on 100th Anniversary of America’s Entry into First World War

Summary

Seattle, King County restoring historic plaques to honor those who served

Story

In early April 1917, President Woodrow Wilson sought a declaration of war to join our allies fighting in the Great War, now known as World War One. By the time the war ended, more than 60,000 residents of Washington had served in the Army, Navy, Marines, or Coast Guard during the war.

Among the people who answered the call were more than 500 employees of Seattle and King County government, both men and women, who left their positions to serve their nation while at war. In 1931, King County and the City of Seattle affixed bronze plaques entitled “Honor Roll of County Employees” and “Honor Roll of City Employees” at the entrance to the County-City Building—now the King County Courthouse—to honor them.

As we recognize the Centennial of America’s entrance into the “War to End All Wars,” an effort is now underway to restore and reinstall those plaques by April 6th, 2017—the date of our nation’s entry into the war.

“These names represent husbands, wives, brothers, and daughters who served our country” said Council Vice Chair Reagan Dunn, cosponsor of the legislation to restore the plaques. “I look forward to the unveiling this renewed piece of our region’s history.”

Those who left behind careers included engineers, hospital workers, sheriff deputies, auditors, clerks, assessors, mechanics, a prosecuting attorney, a Justice of the Peace, a coroner, and the Superintendent of Buildings. Many were young parents, leaving their children behind to defend our nation.

“As the son of a Korean War combat Veteran, I am personally committed to ensuring we honor the sacrifices of all who have served our nation, including the more than 120,000 veterans who call King County home,” said Council Vice Chair Rod Dembowski. “I am proud to partner with Councilmember Dunn to honor the legacy of the brave men and women who fought to safeguard the world 100 years ago.”

These commemorative plaques are currently located in the portico at the Fourth Avenue entrance to the King County Courthouse, where they serve as a lasting tribute to the men and women employees who served. The adopted motion calls on the County Executive and 4Culture, King County’s cultural services agency, to restore and reinstall the plaques by April 6 for a public ceremony recognizing those who served, and gave their lives, in defense of their country.
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