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Honoring veterans - one tile at a time
by Reneé Mizar
Driving along Sequim Avenue near Sequim High School, one might miss the unassuming monument that has stood for nine-and-a-half years to honor those who gave of themselves, and some their lives, in service to this country.
Upon closer inspection of the Veterans Memorial resting on the edge of the Museum & Arts Center’s DeWitt Administration Center property at 544 N. Sequim Ave., one sees dozens of engraved tiles bearing the names of former and current military service personnel and organizations with Clallam County ties.
The memorial, which includes a flagpole donated by veteran Myron Spath, was created by a Museum & Arts Center committee in 2003 to honor and memorialize veterans both past and present from all service branches as well as veteran service organizations. Since its dedication, the memorial has grown from 60 tiles to 157, with several more yet to be placed.
For about six years, MAC volunteer Robert Cooper — a retired U.S. Army sergeant major E-9 who served in Korea — has overseen the Veterans Memorial program. Having taken over memorial duties from longtime MAC volunteer and World War II veteran Ted Cordua, Cooper has been responsible for taking tile orders as well as arranging for engraving and placement in the memorial.
His name also graces one of the tiles — along with the names of his father and two uncles, each of whom served in the U.S. Army.
“I think people should order tiles because people’s memories are very short,” Cooper said. “We need to remember the guys and gals that went off to fight for our country, and of course some of whom didn’t return.”
With Cooper now preparing to move to Texas to be closer to family, he has tapped fellow veteran Larry Klinefelter of Sequim to oversee the memorial. Klinefelter, who served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the 1960s, said he felt proud to assume responsibility for the memorial and also plans to place new tiles himself.
“He’s a fellow comrade from the VFW Post 6787,” Cooper said of Klinefelter. “He volunteered to take it over and I think he’ll do a good job.”
Those interested in ordering a veterans memorial tile, which costs $30 or $32 depending on design, are asked to contact Klinefelter at 360-912-1976 or LJK1551@live.com.
Order forms are available
on the MAC website at www.macsequim.org.