[Hpn] Seattle, WA - Veterans parade back in action: $50,000 raised for center - Seattle Post-Intelligencer - November 12, 2003

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Wed, 12 Nov 2003 06:10:50 -0500

Veterans parade back in action: $50,000 raised for center

Few come out to watch; event ends at Wall of Remembrance
By Staff Writers - Seattle Post-Intelligencer - November 12, 2003

For the first time in years, Seattle marked Veterans Day with a
parade yesterday.

A group of more than 100 people marched through downtown Seattle
from the Westin Hotel to the Garden of Remembrance at Benaroya
Hall to honor the people who served in the armed forces and
fought and died for the United States.

There were few people on the sidewalks to watch the parade. Other
than the small flags carried by participants, no other banners or
signs were visible among the scattered pedestrians who

About 30 veterans of conflicts ranging from World War II to the
Vietnam War stepped forward at the memorial at the end of the
parade to be recognized for their service. Organizers said that
after a long hiatus, they hope Veterans Day parades will become
an annual tradition in Seattle.

"I was proud of the veterans who showed up. I was disappointed in
Seattle's response," said Greg Pierce, an Army veteran and
Seattle resident who attended the celebration. "I think it's a
good start."

Virtually nobody in attendance yesterday recalled the last time
Seattle had a Veterans Day parade. Jim Warren, a World War II
Army veteran who spoke at the end of the seven-block march, said
later that past celebrations "just faded away."

One participant, retired Navy Adm. Bill Center, recalled marching
in one in the late 1980s. In the intervening years, perhaps the
best-known local Veterans Day march has been in Auburn, more than
30 miles away.

Seattle's renewed march was organized by the Compass Center, an
extension of the Lutheran ministry that serves some of the
estimated 2,000 homeless veterans seeking food and shelter each
night in King County.

The center's purpose was to honor veterans and raise money for
its current cause, construction of a $3.1 million new veterans
center in Shoreline set to open next July.

Seeing a parade in Seattle surprised some and touched others.

As the parade turned south on Second Avenue, Bonnie Pruett wiped
a tear from her eye, saying the march reminded her of the
military service by her father, who survived it, and a friend,
who didn't.

"It's a good reminder," said Pruett, who watched the parade while
waiting for a bus.

When the march ended at University Street, participants placed a
line of red and white carnations at the base of the Wall of
Remembrance at Benaroya Hall's Garden of Remembrance, which lists
the names of some 8,000 Washingtonians killed in conflicts.

Warren, who has become a state historian, retold the tale of his
Army unit being captured by Germans and ultimately returned to
the American side during World War II. Many others didn't
survive, and "we want (all) these people remembered," Warren

The flowers came from table settings at a fund-raising breakfast
at the Westin Hotel, attended by about 400 people.

Breakfast speakers included Mayor Greg Nickels, Rep. Jim
McDermott, D-Wash., and former TV anchor Susan Hutchison and her
husband, Iraq war veteran Andy Hutchison.

Attendees donated more than $50,000 toward completion of the new
veterans center, said Dean Lierle, the center's fund raiser. That
leaves the center with $25,000 more to raise.

Lierle called both the annual breakfast and the resurrected
parade a success and promised the center will try to organize
another parade a year from now.

"This time we see a new sense of patriotism, and, hopefully, a
new sense of caring for our veterans," Lierle said.

One Vietnam-era veteran, Morris Schweigert, called the parade an
"inspiration," and said it has motivated him to volunteer at the
Seattle Veterans Museum.

"I liked it all," he said of the Seattle parade and speeches. "It
was from the heart. I think they should continue this."


The federal government is debating ways to ensure adequate
buildings and other facilities are available to meet veterans'
future health-care needs, and Rep. George Nethercutt Jr.,
R-Wash., has set up a Web site for veterans' comments.

They can log on to www.house.gov/nethercutt/veterans/ to do so.
Nethercutt said he'll deliver all comments to the Department of
Veterans Affairs, which has set up a special commission to review
needs and recommend changes.

Veterans without Internet access may also submit comments by
regular mail to the Office of Rep. George Nethercutt Jr., 920 W.
Riverside, Suite 594, Spokane, WA 99201.

Veterans Affairs Secretary Anthony Principi is expected to
approve a new plan before 2004.

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