Freedom Walk and Sentinel Statue Restoration Complete; Twin Cities Memorial Day Ceremonies Set for Monday


Volunteers from the Bricklayers Local 1 Washington and Alaska union have finished restoration efforts on the The Sentinel statue and Freedom Walk War Memorial at George Washington Park in downtown Centralia.

The park is now ready to host the American Legion’s Memorial Day ceremony on Monday. 

Restoration work was needed as freezing water damage had begun to break apart The Sentinel’s stone foundation. Members of the Bricklayers union volunteered their time, tools and labor to do the work. The City of Centralia paid for materials. 

The public is invited to attend the ceremony, which starts at 2:30 p.m. Monday. Centralia Historical Preservation Commission member Peter Lahmann plans to have some military vehicles and displays set up at the park.

George Washington Park is located at 110 S. Silver St. in Centralia.

Lahmann helped get the Freedom Walk created in 1993 by gathering names for it and overseeing its construction. It received new groutwork and cleaning in recent weeks. The Freedom Walk displays the names of 355 Lewis County veterans killed in action going all the way back to World War I. 

The Sentinel was erected after the Centralia Massacre of 1919 to commemorate World War I veterans and American Legion members who were killed during an Armistice Day parade that turned into a shootout. Shooting began when American Legion members and local Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) union members confronted each other. One IWW member, who was later lynched, was also a World War I veteran. 

For those who can’t make it to the George Washington Park Memorial Day service, the American Legion is holding another ceremony at the Claquato Cemetery. 

Claquato Cemetery is located on 142 Stearns Road in Chehalis. 

The service will begin at 10:30 a.m. Veterans Memorial Museum Director Chip Duncan will be presenting, according to Experience Chehalis. Following the ceremony, the Veterans Memorial Museum will be the host site of the Tree of Life service at 2 p.m.

Admission to the Veterans Memorial Museum will be free on Memorial Day. The museum is located on 100 SW Veterans Way in Chehalis.