Stonehenge Memorial Never Forget Garden Support
1 month ago
On Memorial Day 2022 former Society President Gavin McIlvenna (1997-98) and Bereavement Director Amy McIlvenna visited the Stonehenge Memorial in Goldendale, WA to see how the Never Forget Garden was doing.
Back in 2018 the Society worked with the memorial and Maryhill Museum of Art on the Centennial of the United States involvement in World War I, and our efforts helped the memorial being designated on the National Registry of Historic Places.
A Never Forget Garden of red poppies had been planted back in 2018, but due to the climate it has not taken very well. Maryhill Museum of Art Education Curator Louise Palermo decided to do something creative called a “yarn bomb” and crocheted red poppies. These poppies would then be tied to fine netting on certain large boulders and the “sentinel stones” surrounding the memorial.
On Memorial Day 2022 just over 1000 yarn poppies had been created and few had been sewn in place. Ms. Palermo decided to extend the installation dates to the end of July and the Society reached out to Daughters of the American Revolution President General Denise VanBuren for help. The Society Public Affairs team created an on-line job application for “crochet volunteers” which generated over 237 volunteers from 45 states and two foreign countries. The poppies came in various sizes and colors, including a purple one to remember all the animals that have served our nation's Armed Forces.
With a deadline of June 20 for shipping all poppies, Ms. Palermo came back from a long weekend to find her office filled with boxes of poppies.
“I left for a short vacation and when I returned, my office was filled with a cascade of envelopes, boxes, and bags of poppies. There are enough to finish this project and to replace it at specific holidays for a long time to come. It was overwhelming to see all the boxes, but more overwhelming still are the stories that accompanied many of the poppies.
One woman sent a single poppy with a note that she has severe arthritis but was determined to send a poppy in honor of her husband who died in World War II. Another sent the record of her father with last paragraph reflecting the telegraph her grandparents received notifying them he was killed in action. She thanked us for finding a way to keep his story alive. The stories continue from artists who want us to remember, as did Sam Hill, the folly of war, but also wanting to keep open a dialogue of honor.” - Louise Palermo
With over 3000 poppies now in hand, volunteers installed them onto the netting, resulting in a very unique Never Forget Garden on a very unique memorial.
As the public was visiting the memorial they would stop by and begin to tell stories about their loved ones who had served, and in some cases never returned home, much like when the public talks to the Sentinel on the mat about their loved ones.
A retired Royal Marine Colonel and his wife talked about poppies and Remembrance Day, a photographer from California on a road trip stumbled upon the memorial and was mesmerized, a family from Mexico told of their family members who served in that nation's Armed Forces, and a lady talked about her three brothers who served in World War II and the one who never made it off of Utah Beach.
“This project began humbly with the idea to bring poppies to Stonehenge. A small grant from the Fiber Arts Now magazine and the collaboration of a few volunteers got the poppy-making started. Our target finish date wasn’t until after the beginning of July, but with the help of volunteer Vonda Chandler, we were able to cover a few of the boulders in time for Memorial Day ceremonies. While the red poppies reflect remembrance (inspired from the poem “In Flanders Field by Canadian, John Mc Crea, printed first in England in 1915), white poppies were sent to represent peace, and a single purple poppy was sent to represent the animals who also died during wars. - Louise Palermo
As intended, this Never Forget Garden and the memorial became a place of healing and education.
To learn more about the project please visit this LINK
"With deep appreciation and immense gratitude for your organization’s efforts in preserving the history of the Tomb of the Unknown Solider – including the incredible Centennial Commemorations held...
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Did you know?
How does the guard rotation work? Is it an 8 hour shift?
Currently, the Tomb Guards work on a three Relief (team) rotation - 24 hours on, 24 hours off, 24 hours on, 24 hours off, 24 hours on, 96 hours off. However, over the years it has been different. The time off isn't exactly free time. It takes the average Sentinel 8 hours to prep their uniform for the next work day. Additionally, they have Physical Training, Tomb Guard training, and haircuts to complete before the next work day.