By Rachel YoungMay 22, 2008
FORT LEWIS, Wash - A tranquil place of peace and remembrance for families of the fallen will soon be a part of Fort Lewis.
Designs are completed for Reflection and Memorial Parks at Fort Lewis and fund-raising efforts are underway. AUSA, Fort Lewis Chapter and Reflection Park and Memorial at Fort Lewis, two non-profit organizations, are helping to raise funds and awareness for the project, including a Web site: www.reflectionpark.org.
"The Web site is up and running," said Elizabeth Vanek, a member of the Reflection park planning group. "It's going to be always changing because we're going to be doing the construction in phases, and, as things happen, they will be showing up on the Web to let people know the progress."
Reflection Park will be built on six acres, adjoining the Memorial Park's four acres, between South 6th Street and South Division Street and bordered on one side by the Broadmoor neighborhood. The park will memorialize the names of fallen service men and women with ties to Washington state, from all uniformed services and all major conflicts, beginning with World War I. The names of the fallen will be engraved on massive boulders of Washington basalt, arranged along gently arcing paths of acoustic crushed granite.
The park will culminate in a reflection pool set in a grassy space. The water feature will be surrounded by paths and benches for visitors to sit and reflect. Beyond the reflection pool, visitors will enter the four-acre Memorial Park, site of brigade-sized unit memorials. The memorials will be placed within the park's landscaping to allow an accessible, yet private, setting for visitors.
The goal is to create a tranquil place to reflect and remember those who have fallen in the past, present and any future conflicts.
Those who can have their names memorialized in the park are "any of the military service men and women who died in a conflict or related to a conflict with ties to Washington state," Vanek said. "That's what makes this a little different."
Another unique concept for the park will be information. Four kiosks in
the entry pavilion will include photos and biographical information for those memorialized in the park, giving visitors a sense of who they were in life, which was more than a name carved into stone.
"It's going to be a living history," Vanek said.
Ken Leonard, a member of the Reflection Park committee who helped get the Web site off the ground and is working on the fund raising for the park, called the project "phenomenal."
"This is historical - this is something that is bigger than all of us," Leonard said. Service members who have sacrificed for the country need to be recognized, he said. "That's where Reflection Park comes in. We can honor the people at the grass roots level who made tremendous sacrifices for this country."
For more information on Reflection and Memorial Parks at Fort Lewis visit www.reflectionpark.org.
Rachel Young is a reporter with the Fort Lewis Northwest Guardian