The South Beach community honors U.S. Military veterans with a monument called the All Veterans Memorial Wall, which is located just outside Westport City limits in Veterans Memorial Park on S. Montesano Street adjacent to the city’s south water tower.
Eight feet long by 4 feet high sections of black granite are spaced along the park’s length. Each contains the names of U.S. Military and U.S Merchant Marine veterans last discharged or who died under conditions other than dishonorable.
Each Memorial Wall inscription includes the honoree’s name, rank, and branch of service, as well as the year of birth and year of death when applicable.
Wall up in 1995
The non-profit project was initially financed through $1,000 contributions from major sponsors that included the Ladies Auxiliary to South Beach VFW Post #3057, the Estate of Rev. William Quick, the family of Robert M. Rogers, Lempi K. Lillegaard and Barb Aue.
The City of Westport allowed the wall to be constructed at the park and then accepted ownership of it following construction.
Subsequently, the $100 charge per inscription and a generous engraving arrangement with the fine folks at Grays Harbor Monument in Aberdeen have enabled the project to be self-sustaining.
The first section of the All Veterans Memorial Wall was dedicated on Aug. 27, 1995. Each wall section contains 120 names, and is surrounded by a 4-foot wide sidewalk, making them all individually handicapped-accessible. After the first wall section was filled, the second granite slab was installed in the summer of 2000, again, with the financial assistance of several major commercial and private sponsors.
When the Wall 2 inscriptions were completed, the third wall was installed in May of 2006. The final inscriptions on that wall section were done in late April of 2010.
A fourth wall section was installed in March of last year with six inscriptions placed and orders for more are now being taken. Additional engravings will be done early this summer.
The City of Westport donated the labor and its Streets Department crew created the forms used for the bases for both Walls 3 and 4. The wall sections will continue to ‘march’ in a line down the park’s length parallel to the flags that fly there in honor of each of the 50 states.
To date, 366 U.S. Military veterans are honored on the All Veterans Memorial Wall.
More than 70% of the inscriptions are of living veterans, who are being honored for their service to our country while they are alive to appreciate it. Many families have chosen to have the names of all members who have served in the military inscribed together, either side by side, or in a single row.
Seeing a need for the addition of vandal-resistant park benches so those visiting the Wall may take some contemplative time, should they so choose, organizers held a community rummage sale in the summer of 2006. Participation was so strong, the sale, organized and run by Grayland resident Laura Lyons, brought in nearly $1,800. That money paid for four cement and rock aggregate benches and their cement bases, coming in only $68.39 short of covering the total cost for the project. The City of Westport Parks Department poured the slabs and installed the benches.
Wall inscriptions have proven to make much-appreciated birthday, holiday, and anniversary gifts, as well as fitting memorials to loved ones who have passed on. Wall inscriptions are available to all honorably discharged veterans, regardless of where they or their families reside. Currently, there are names on the wall that represent veterans from nearly half of the United States and range from those who served in the Civil War to present conflicts.
If you are interested in more information about placing an inscription on the All Veterans Memorial Wall for yourself or a loved one, living or deceased, please call 360- 268-0736 for an application form.
All Veterans Memorial Wall application forms are also available at Westport City Hall, at the South Beach Visitors Information Center at the Westport ‘Y’ and at Security State Bank in Grayland.