Eric Ward. Jeffrey Starr. Jeremy Burris.
Those are just a few of the 141 soldiers from Washington state who have lost their lives in Iraq or Afghanistan. That’s according to the Washington Post, which compiles casualty statistics. Memorial Day offers a chance to reflect on their sacrifice.
During a recent lunchtime, a young man named Kyle paused in front of the granite wall memorial outside the Seattle Veterans Museum. The wall lists names of Washington service members killed in wartime since 1940.
"I have a lot of relatives that I like to visit every year, pay my respects, put some flowers on their graves," he said. "Both of my grandfathers were in the military. They fought in Korea. I go every year – it's very important to me."
James Wells said he has another reason to celebrate this weekend. It's his birthday. But he's also mindful of the sacrifices of his relatives who have served.
"It's a time that we appreciate the safety that we do have, and we hang out with our family and let them know that we love them," Wells said.
There are Memorial Day events happening all over the region.
In Seattle, the Nisei Veterans Committee will gather in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood to honor Japanese American soldiers. They’re paying a special tribute to Japanese Americans who served during World War II, even though many of their relatives were confined to internment camps.