West Seattle, Washington
Story, video, and photos by Tracy Record and Patrick Sand
West Seattle Blog co-publishers
“Americans must remember that freedom isn’t free.”
That reminder from American Legion Post 160 commander Keith Hughes, at this afternoon’s West Seattle Memorial Day ceremony at Forest Lawn (WSB sponsor) in High Point. Here’s our video of the entire ceremony, unedited:
Hughes, an Army veteran, exhorted the 50-plus on hand also to remember that those who gave their lives for our freedom “are not just statistics – they are real people … with real names … real faces … real people.”
All around the site of the half-hour ceremony near the cemetery’s flagpole, the “real names” were there to see, on plaques atop graves marked with flags and crosses placed by members of Boy Scout Troop 284, who also assisted in the ceremony. We stopped to take note afterward:
The half-hour ceremony urged not only honor for the dead, but help for the living – the veterans who made it home alive: “Join us, the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans, and many other groups … help us make a difference,” exhorted Hughes. “Remember our fallen once a year is just not enough. Consider what you can do to help those who have come home.” (The West Seattle Veterans’ Center recently reopened at Post 160’s hall in The Triangle.)
Both Hughes (above) and VFW Post 2713 commander Ray Fairbank (below), who described himself as a Navy veteran from Vietnam and an Air Force veteran from Desert Storm, spoke of Memorial Day’s history, going back to its origins as Decoration Day a century and a half ago, finally taking its current name in the ’60s.
Fairbank, also the VFW’s state chaplain, urged people to behold the American flag and consider what it represents – “white for purity … red stripes of courage … blue for tranquility … the sacred symbol of freedom.” And he drew audible cries from some in the crowd as he read a wrenching essay from Reader’s Digest, “A Fallen Soldier’s Final Salute.”
Hughes recalled a U.S. Marine lost in Okinawa in the 1940s, and an Army specialist lost in Afghanistan this decade – different hometowns, different genders, same courage, he observed.
Along with their words, Ross Hauck sang stirring renditions of the National Anthem as well as “America the Beautiful” and “God Bless America” – you can hear for yourself in our video of the ceremony, which concluded after echoing “Taps,” a release of white doves, and Troop 284 retiring the colors.
Though they were said toward the ceremony’s start, words from the invocation by chaplain and veteran Kelly Wadsworth (above) also seemed fitting in conclusion, a reminder that “cessation of war is not the same as enduring peace.”
After the somber observance, everyone was invited to a reception at Post 160’s Triangle headquarters; some headed out, some lingered, with a spirited song by the Duwamish Jazz Band:
The flags continued to wave in the breeze, honoring those “real names, real people” who had gone before.
Thanks to volunteers of all ages, led by West Seattle-based Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2713, The Junction’s flags are up in honor of Memorial Day.
Between now and then, you’ll find local veterans’ groups at the Forest Lawn (6701 30th SW; WSB sponsor) Memorial Day ceremony at 2 pm, all welcome.
(Thanks to Vicki for the photo from Troop 284’s volunteer work at Forest Lawn last week)
TRAFFIC/TRANSIT: No regular traffic report today because of the holiday but you can check local cams here. … NO bridge closure tonight because of the holiday … Metro buses are on a Sunday schedule … The West Seattle Water Taxi is on a Sunday schedule … Sound Transit buses are on a Sunday schedule … Washington State Ferries‘ Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth run is on its regular weekday schedule.
OTHER HOLIDAY NOTES: Seattle Parks explains here what’s open and what’s not … Schools are closed … Seattle Public Library branches are closed … It’s a U.S. Postal Service holiday … And if you’re going to a neighborhood with on-street pay stations/metered parking, know that this is a city “parking holiday.”
What’s happening today/tonight:
HELP WITH JUNCTION FLAGS: VFW Post 2713 can use your help putting up and taking down the Stars and Stripes in the West Seattle Junction – meet outside Cupcake Royale at California/Alaska by 8:50 am for the morning help and by 4:50 pm for the evening removal.
HIGHLAND PARK SPRAYPARK, DAY 3: If the forecast holds, this could be the first good day for playing in the water. 11 am-8 pm. (1100 SW Cloverdale)
COLMAN POOL, FINAL DAY OF FIRST PRE-SEASON WEEKEND: Swim sessions noon-7 pm at the city-run outdoor saltwater pool on the shore at Lincoln Park – here’s the schedule. (8011 Fauntleroy Way SW)
TOUR THE ALKI POINT LIGHTHOUSE: 1 pm-4 pm (last group admitted at 3:40 pm), this year’s first weekend of free tours at Alki Point Lighthouse concludes. (Alki SW/Beach Drive SW)
MEMORIAL DAY CEREMONY: Honor the reason for Memorial Day by attending the traditional ceremony presented by American Legion Post 160 and community partners this afternoon at Forest Lawn (WSB sponsor), 2 pm, all welcome. (6701 30th SW)
SILENT MOVIE COMEDIES, ACCOMPANIED, AT KENYON HALL: 7:30 pm at Kenyon Hall, Donald Soson is back to play along with silent-movie comedies – see our listing for info on the show and how to get your ticket. And when you’re there, don’t miss the root-beer floats! (7904 35th SW)
MONDAY QUIZ: 7:30 pm, all ages, at The Skylark – with prizes! (3803 Delridge Way SW)
Another Memorial Day tradition: Tomorrow and Sunday you can get your poppies from American Legion Post 160 at West Seattle Thriftway (WSB sponsor), 8 am-4 pm both days. From Post 160’s announcement: “The Poppy is a symbol to remember those servicepersons who have perished in service to our nation. Donations received from Poppy Distribution will go to Veterans and Veterans’ Families in the local community.”
Thriftway is where California/Fauntleroy/Morgan meet. Meantime, Post 160 also invites you to Monday’s traditional Memorial Day ceremony at Forest Lawn (6701 30th SW; WSB sponsor) at 2 pm.
Thanks to Vicki for the photos – again this year, West Seattle’s Boy Scout Troop 284 has been at Forest Lawn Cemetery (WSB sponsor), getting it ready for Memorial Day, with flags and crosses for veterans’ graves.
As mentioned here earlier this week, you are invited to the annual traditional ceremony on Monday afternoon, 2 pm, at Forest Lawn (6701 30th SW), honoring those who served and are serving, presented by American Legion Post 160 and community partners.
In case you haven’t yet seen them in the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar, two Memorial Day notes:
(2015 WSB photo)
JUNCTION FLAG HELP: Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2713 welcomes community assistance in putting up and taking down the West Seattle Junction’s U.S. flags on Monday. Meet at California/Alaska, in front of Cupcake Royale, at 8:50 am for flag placement, 4:50 pm for flag removal.
FOREST LAWN CEREMONY: At 2 pm on Monday, American Legion Post 160 and community partners will present the traditional annual Memorial Day ceremony at Forest Lawn (WSB sponsor) in High Point (map); all welcome.
(2014 WSB photo)
Right afterward, you’re invited to a 3:30 pm reception at Post 160 HQ in The Triangle (3618 SW Alaska).
West Seattle’s only 4th of July parade – the Kids’ Parade through North Admiral streets – is a joyful way to start the holiday for hundreds of local families and the increasing numbers of spectators who watch along the way. It’s been a community-organized tradition for more than 20 years. While it’s free to participate and observe, it’s not free to stage, with costs including permits and insurance. This year, organizers are asking you to help cover the costs, via crowdfunding. The parade’s new coordinator, Emily Williams, has set up an IndieGogo page for contributions, with this year’s parade coming up fast. Every little bit will help.
Before we get to our list of what’s happening today, one more mention, in case you haven’t seen it, that we again this year have a special one-page guide to egg hunts, Easter and Holy Week services, updated daily so you can check it without wading through outdated listings. Tomorrow is the big day for egg hunts – the 30,000-egg-stravaganza at West Seattle Thriftway (California/Fauntleroy; WSB sponsor) at 9 am, followed by the city-run community centers’ 10 am hunts, and more. Sunday’s Easter listings include West Seattle’s traditional sunrise services, both at 6:30 am – one at Forest Lawn (WSB sponsor) and one on Alki Beach with the local UCC churches. Whatever your plans, have a great weekend!
(2015 WSB photo)
If you’re looking for egg hunts, Holy Week/Easter Sunday church services, and/or other special events, our annual all-in-one place is now up – find it here (and in our navigation bar toward the top of the page, under the heading EASTER, ETC.). If you have something to add, it’s not too late – please e-mail it ASAP – firstname.lastname@example.org – thanks!
— brentamaker (@brentamaker) March 17, 2016
Thanks to everyone who pointed out that the mysterious stripe down 41st SW, east of Metropolitan Market (WSB sponsor) and stretching north a ways, has been refreshed this year. We photographed it this morning but the photo Brent tweeted, above, is better! And Patricia caught it in the pre-dawn darkness, so the leprechaun(s) must have been busy with the brush(es) before sunrise:
This of course revives the question, who does this? It’s come up here over the years and no one has ever ‘fessed up, though there’ve been a few hints. We tend to be with the “well, it’s good to have SOME mysteries” camp …
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) March 17, 2016
9:07 AM: In the brisk sunshine of this St. Patrick’s Day morning, Alki Elementary students, staff, and parents welcomed a parade and playground mini-concert before school, with members of the King County Firefighters Pipes and Drums. We’ll add more when back at HQ.
ADDED 10:34 AM: Some of the parents who got into the spirit – from left, Tammy, Cheryl, and Anne:
In the schoolyard, everyone gathered in a circle around the musicians:
Longer video clip still to come.
It’s a WSB tradition – a page listing Easter (etc.) events including egg hunts, church services, brunches … we include them in our year-round West Seattle Event Calendar, too, but for convenient reference, we create a separate page. So if your business, organization, church, etc., has plans this year but hasn’t sent us the info yet, please do, as soon as you can! No need for flyers/posters or anything else special – just plain text in the body of your e-mail, sent to email@example.com – thank you!
(WSB photo from 2013 celebration at Vietnamese Cultural Center)
Looking ahead to next Sunday – you’re invited to a New Year celebration at the Vietnamese Cultural Center in West Seattle. From Lee Bui and Lynda Bui:
The Vietnamese Cultural Center would like to invite the community to our Tết Celebration for the Year of the Monkey. We will have lion dancing and fireworks. Afterwards there will be light refreshments and karaoke inside.
12 pm-3 pm Sunday, February 14th – 2236 SW Orchard St.
If you haven’t been to the VCC – here’s some backstory from the WSB archives.
(Video/photos by WSB’s Patrick Sand, unless otherwise credited)
Clear sky, 33-degree air, 50-degree water, and hundreds of cheery participants combined for this year’s West Seattle Polar Bear Swim at Alki Beach this morning. Here’s the leader of the countdown you hear in the video, organizer Mark Ufkes:
He went in wearing his “I (Heart) White Center” T-shirt. As usual, the crowd was peppered with costumes and uniforms – and it’s not a Polar Bear Swim without the softball umpires:
Another group went prehistoric:
The most popular “costume” generally involved head/face gear of some kind:
(This photo and next one by Scott Nelson)
The Olympics provided a beautiful backdrop:
To get the internal temperature back up afterward, free chowder courtesy of Duke’s (right across the street from the gathering spot for the “swim”):
Can’t guarantee the sunshine but the day and time are locked in – so mark your calendar for New Year’s Day 2017!
P.S. Our clip from the sidewalk gives you more of an idea of how many people were on the beach before, during, and after:
(Reviewing our links, you might be surprised to see it’s been sunny on NYD more often than not!)
(The Olympics on New Year’s Eve, by Monica Zaborac – you can soak in the same view today)
Welcome to 2016! Here’s what you need to know on this first day of the new year:
GETTING AROUND: Metro‘s on a Sunday schedule; the Water Taxi is not running; Washington State Ferries‘ Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth route is on a regular weekday schedule.
RESTAURANTS: Our annual list of holiday hours has info for West Seattle restaurants that told us they’d be open today/tonight – but please note the disclaimer.
COFFEE: See the West Seattle Holiday Guide for shops that told us they’d be open today.
GROCERY STORES: The only one closed today is Trader Joe’s.
NYD WALKS: Emerald City Wanderers invite you to walk into 2016, with 5- and 10-kilometer routes you can start any time between 9 am and noon from St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church. (3050 California SW)
POLAR BEAR SWIM: 10 am on Alki Beach, across from Duke’s (which provides clam chowder for the hardy “swimmers”) – info in our preview. As we write this, the air temperature is 25 degrees, water temperature 50 degrees, so consider it a way to warm up! (58th SW & Alki SW)
SPECIAL CLASS: 10 am at the Center for Movement and Healing, with meditation, dance, and more. Info here. (7901 35th SW)
LABYRINTH WALK: Our Lady of Guadalupe hosts its first New Year’s Day Labyrinth Walk – visit any time between 11 am and 1 pm; details here. (35th SW & SW Myrtle)
ORIGINAL FRIDAY REPORT: Thanks to West Seattle photographer Craig Young for sharing views of the Space Needle fireworks that launched the new year.
Ever wonder what goes into planning the show? GeekWire talked to the “architect” of the show since its start 20+ years ago, Alberto Navarro.
ADDED SATURDAY: Two more photos, above and below this line, shot by Bill Morgan from Hamilton Viewpoint Park in North Admiral:
(WSB video and photos by Patrick Sand)
If you weren’t part of it, watch the video to see and hear the boisterous Not-So-Silent Night Parade as it headed out from Highland Park Improvement Club tonight, to kick off HPIC’s three-part New Year’s Eve celebration. Noisemakers, costumes, and lights were the order of the night.
The parade crossed SW Holden at the newly enhanced crosswalk just east of HPIC, walking and rolling along several blocks before returning to the historic community center – note the flashing beacons at left in the next photo:
Immediately afterward, everyone gathered in the parking lot for the Sage Comet Performance, a fiery farewell to the old year. First, torchbearers stood at the ready to light the sage:
Then, the mesmerizing twirling and whirling began – see it in our video:
And then, everyone headed inside for an early edition of HPIC’s popular monthly Corner Bar, usually on the first Friday night of the month.
The youngest revelers had a space of their own.
DJs and a costume contest are part of the fun, which is continuing into 2016.
Along with the monthly Corner Bar, HPIC also hosts activities including free Movie Nights, community meetings, classes, and more – it’s where we presented West Seattle’s first candidate forum in the District 1 City Council race back in February. Info’s at hpic1919.org.
Stopped by Admiral Bird‘s kid-friendly New Year’s Eve party around 7:30 pm – moving toward watching the East Coast ball-drop at 9 pm our time – and it was already shoulder-to-shoulder, at kid height and adult height. Kind of like the Times Square experience! We ducked back out quickly so as not to take up space that could be used by the would-be partiers who were still showing up at the door. More West Seattle NYE coverage to come.
(WSB photo from last year’s Rainbow Girls tree-cycling event)
The West Seattle Rainbow Girls just announced they’ll have a by-donation tree-recycling dropoff again this year, on the day after New Year’s: Next, Saturday, January 2, 9 am-2 pm, in the parking lot outside the Alki Masonic Hall, 4736 40th Ave SW. Cash donations accepted. No need to cut your tree into sections – as is requested for city tree-cycling – but no tinsel or flocking, please.
(Last year’s Space Needle fireworks, photographed from West Seattle by David Hutchinson)
This year’s edition of the WSB West Seattle Holiday Guide, launched in mid-November and updated all season long, has its grand finale coming up at week’s end – New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. You’ll already find listings from the Highland Park Improvement Club “Not So Silent Night Parade” to the Admiral Bird‘s kid-friendly dance party to the just-confirmed Polar Bear Swim on Alki, but we’re also putting out one last call for anything you want to add, like bar parties/live music, NYD coffee-shop hours, etc. Just e-mail the info ASAP to firstname.lastname@example.org – thanks!
If you’ve walked past the West Seattle Junction Christmas tree in the past few days, maybe you noticed that single shiny ornament. It was placed there by Wesley and Jacqui, who shared the photos, saying they hope to inspire others to do the same next year and beyond:
We just wanted to share our new tradition of adding our personal ornament to the Junction Plaza tree. We look forward to adding our ornament as soon as the tree is lit next year and hope other West Seattleites can add their ornaments as well.
The West Seattle Junction Association arranges for the lights on the tree and the smaller trees in the park, as part of Hometown Holidays, which WSB co-sponsored again this year. We’ll make a note to get the ornament idea into next year’s holiday coverage; the tree is usually lit on the first Saturday night in December (here’s our coverage from this year)!
(2015 Polar Bear Swim photo by Craig Young)
For everyone who’s been asking: Organizer Mark Ufkes confirmed this morning that the annual New Year’s Day West Seattle Polar Bear Swim at Alki Beach is on:
10 am January 1, 2016 in front of Duke’s on Alki. We line up along the beach, hold hands, and after a short count down, we all run into the water. Last year, more than 500 participated. We go into the water at 10 am sharp after the count down, so get there a little early. Bring water shoes, towel, change of clothes and your hopes and dreams for 2016. Duke’s clam chowder is generously provided by Duke and his crew. This is a great way to wash away the complexities of 2015 and welcome the unlimited possibilities of 2016.
Here’s our coverage from last year.