Veterans Memorial Museum Holds Tree of Life Ceremony on Memorial Day


The Veterans Memorial Museum in Chehalis held a ceremony on Memorial Day honoring veterans whose dog tags hang from the Tree of Life display in the museum. 

The tree’s branches are draped with dog tags, which feature the names of 161 service members, Museum Executive Director Chip Duncan said. 

“The dog tags displayed here are of loved ones who served our nation with honor. Some have given the ultimate sacrifice. Others lived a full life and have gone on to their eternal reward,” read a sign in front of the Tree of Life at the museum.

During the ceremony, Duncan simply read each name aloud while a bell was sounded and a candle was lit after each name. Around 20 people were in attendance for the ceremony, including the family members of the fallen service members who could light a candle if they wished. 

“Each one of these candles represents a life, and each one of them impacted us in certain ways,” Duncan said. “Many of you have people and loved ones that are here. Other people that are not able to be here today, they meant something to somebody. That’s what Memorial Day is about — taking time to pause and remember those who served our nation.”

The Tree of Life is a project the museum does in partnership with the Visiting Nurses Foundation. 

Anyone can add dog tags with the name of a fallen service member to the Tree of Life by simply making a donation. To do so, visit the Veterans Memorial Museum and let the front desk know you would like to donate to get a name added to the tree. 

The Veterans Memorial Museum is located on 100 SW Veterans Way in Chehalis.