Stonehenge Memorial Never Forget Garden Support

4 months 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.

Stonehenge Memorial
Former SHGTUS President and Bereavement Director visit the Stonehenge Memorial in Goldendale, WA

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.

Stonehenge Memorial
Visitors pay their respects at the Klickitat Memorial which shares the same property as the Stonehenge Memorial in Goldendale, WA

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

Stonehenge Memorial
Volunteers attached crocheted poppies to boulders surrounding the Stonehenge Memorial in Goldendale, WA

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.

Stonehenge Memorial
Over 3,000 poppies were sent in by volunteers all across the globe.

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.

Stonehenge Memorial
Former SHGTUS President and Retired Colonel of the Royal Marines share stories about service at the Stonehenge Memorial in Goldendale, WA.

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.

Stonehenge Memorial
Volunteers attached crocheted poppies to the Sentinel Stones surrounding the Stonehenge Memorial in Goldendale, WA

“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.

Stonehenge Memorial
Stonehenge Memorial with yarn poppies attached to boulders.

To learn more about the project please visit this LINK

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