The Boulevard of Remembrance will become reality.
To celebrate, the public is invited to The Boulevard of Remembrance Ceremony on Veterans Day. Speakers will include Rep. Dick Muri and Rep. Christine Kilduff, former Lakewood Mayor Doug Richardson, JBLM I Corps Deputy Commanding General for Operations Brigadier General Dany Fortin and Charlotte “Polly” Medlock.
Following an overwhelming show of support from the City of Lakewood and other local governments and organizations, the State Transportation Commission this month approved the naming of stretch of Interstate 5 near the Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) corridor.
The effort – intended to commemorate and honor of those who served in World War I, as well as the South Sound’s military heritage - involves the placement of a historical marker and preservation of surviving trees between the Mounts Road exit and the McChord exit.
Here are details on the event:
- WHAT: Boulevard of Remembrance Ceremony
- WHEN: 2 p.m., Friday, Nov. 11
- WHERE: Lakewood City Hall, Council Chambers, 6000 Main St. SW
In 1928, the Tacoma Garden Club established a plan to commemorate those who served in World War I. Individual citizens and organizations in Pierce County funded the placement of 500 Northern, Scarlet, English, and red oak trees along the Pacific Highway (now I-5) from the Nisqually River to Ponders Station.
Each tree memorializes an individual, organization, or military unit that served during World War I and many of the trees are visibly marked by a copper plaque set in stone recording the name of the honored person or organization.
On March 16, 1928, the “Boulevard of Remembrance” was formally dedicated by local and state leaders. In the decades that followed, however, a large portion of the memorial was destroyed by expanding roadways and freeway construction, thereby reducing the number of trees on the “Boulevard of Remembrance” from 500 to 66.
In the 1980s, a group of local preservationists, including Charlotte Medlock, born 1925, waged a successful campaign to save the 66 surviving trees and in 1989. Pierce County Resolution R89-164 recognized the importance of preserving the “Boulevard of Remembrance” as a visible commemoration of the sacrifices many bore in the defense of our nation. The 66 remaining trees located along I-5, from the Nisqually River to Ponders Corner and Fort Lewis, continue to honor our World War I veterans, organizations, and other individuals who contributed to the war effort.