VFW plaza dedication set for Friday

Tribute will be companion to county's war memorial

By Tom Vogt, Columbian science, military & history reporter

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A tribute to America's war veterans will be dedicated at 11 a.m. Friday southeast of Vancouver City Hall.

The VFW Memorial Plaza is a salute to all military personnel who have served in foreign wars.

"We, as a society, memorialize our fallen," said Roy Billings, a project organizer. The plaza will recognize all those who have taken part in overseas conflicts, Billings said, including those who returned home and resumed their lives.

The memorial plaza, at the corner of Columbia Street and Phil Arnold Way (formerly West Fourth Street), will be a complement to the Clark County War Memorial. The monument in the Vancouver Barracks lists about 600 local service personnel who have died in military conflicts since the Spanish-American War.

While Vancouver's Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7824 is a partner in the plaza project, "It is not a memorial to the VFW," said Billings, a member of the post. "It is a memorial to veterans who have served in foreign conflicts."

The Clark County Mural Society is another partner in the project. The society has already created a multi-image tribute to veterans with its "Remembrance Wall," along the berm supporting the BNSF rail line.

The series of panels represents chapters in U.S. military history.

Organizers are offering an opportunity to paint more personal commemorations Friday. After the ceremony, veterans -- or family members -- can inscribe their names and additional information about their military service on one of the blank mural panels.

After each wall panel is completed, its surface will be sealed to protect it from vandalism, said Jerry Rolling, co-founder of the Clark County Mural Society.

The city, which owns the property, also is a participant in the project.

City Councilor Larry Smith, an Army veteran, helped develop the idea of the memorial plaza, and the city designated the site as the VFW Plaza.

Smith will speak at Friday's ceremony.


Tom Vogt: 360-735-4558; http://twitter.com/col_history; tom.vogt@columbian.com