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PHOTOS: Honoring Our Own pays tribute to veterans
Mirror staff reports:
Federal Way's third annual tribute to veterans, Honoring Our Own, was held Nov. 12 at Todd Beamer High School. (SEE PHOTOS)
The keynote speaker was John E. Patrick, interim director of VA Puget Sound Health Care System.
Patrick relayed the story of an American software engineer who was deployed for 15 months in Baghdad. He worked as an IT specialist to ensure that his unit's communication abilities remained intact. However, while deployed, his wife left him. Following his discharge, he sought psychological treatment at a local VA hospital. Today, he is working full time again after getting the help he needed.
Patrick said this example reinforces the notion that freedom isn't free.
"Every veteran has offered his country devotion and sacrifice," said Patrick, noting that there are nearly 22 million living American veterans. "They are the bedrock of the sovereignty of our nation."
At the ceremony, Carol Olsen from Quilts of Valor presented a quilt to Patrick. Quilts of Valor has distributed nearly 70,000 quilts in honor of U.S. troops. Federal Way Public Schools assistant superintendent Mark Davidson presented a box filled with thank you letters written by Federal Way students for U.S. military serving overseas. Local scouting troops presented a banner signed by dozens of people in the Federal Way community that will be donated to a local veterans hospital.
The program included patriotic songs by the Todd Beamer Wind Ensemble and the Harmony Kings Barbershop Chorus. Cadets from the Federal Way and Todd Beamer AFJROTC presented the colors and honored POW/MIA soldiers.
The event was sponsored by the Historical Society of Federal Way and the Federal Way Kiwanis.