On display at the exhibit, Western Union Tribune telegraphs notify Paul A. Young’s wife, Thelma, of his status as a Prisoner of War in 1945. Olivia Sullivan/staff photo

On display at the exhibit, Western Union Tribune telegraphs notify Paul A. Young’s wife, Thelma, of his status as a Prisoner of War in 1945. Olivia Sullivan/staff photo

Historical Society of Federal Way’s new exhibit reflects on World War II

The society’s annual open house and exhibit grand opening is 2-4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7.

The Historical Society of Federal Way invites you to take a local look back on the early 1940s.

“World War II: Washington Remembers” is the society’s latest exhibit, showcasing Federal Way’s service members, military artifacts from the 1930s and 1940s, along with stories of trials and tribulations felt throughout the state. While the foundation of the information is provided by Legacy Washington’s traveling exhibit, the historical society is adding local flair with memorabilia from Federal Way veterans.

“Before they liberated concentration camps or freed countries from tyranny, men and women in uniform … braved the unknown, lived through the unthinkable and changed who we are,” the Legacy website states.

“It’s kind of nice to see their different stories, the different battles, and what they did once they returned,” said Suzanne Vargo, board member of the historical society, of the exhibits spotlight features. “They’re all people that lived here in Federal Way.”

On display are several WWII uniforms from the U.S. Army and Marine Corps provided by local community members, along with a uniform worn during the Battle of the Bulge, which was donated by longtime South King Fire and Rescue member Roger Hershey.

“You’re going to walk into this room and be in a 1940s living room at Christmas time,” Vargo said of her vision for the exhibit setting.

Hanging in the entrance of the historical society is a plaque inscribed with dozens of names of local residents who signed up for the WWII draft, many of which were high school students from Federal Way, Vargo noted.

This exhibit is focused on people of local connection and how it affected the people of Federal Way, Vargo said.

Western Union Tribune articles show the heart-wrenching chronicles of local resident Paul Young and his status as a prisoner of war.

Throughout the exhibit’s stay through May, the society will also present programs about various issues the country faced during the 1940s, such as rationing gas, milk and sugar.

“We’ve never had to ration our sugar,” Vargo said. “I mean gas has gotten expensive, we may have re-thought our trips and how far we’re going to drive but nothing like what these people sacrificed. And back then, you just did it.”

Among the collection of artifacts are a rationing how-to guide and a vintage paper Kit-Kat candy bar wrapper, which reads: “This product is made with plain chocolate. Our standard Chocolate Crisp will be reintroduced as soon as milk is available.”

The society will also touch on the tragedy of internment camps and the mentality brought on by war that lasted decades, Vargo said.

When community members have a chance to explore how this war impacted Federal Way, it doesn’t seem as looming or distant and brings the history home to the heart of Washington, she said.

The annual open house and grand opening of the exhibit is from 2-4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7.

The Historical Society of Federal Way is located at 2645 S. 312th St. at the Steel Lake Park Annex. For more information, visit federalwayhistory.org.

World War II: Washington Remembers will be on the display at the Historical Society of Federal Way beginning Dec. 7 through May 2020. Olivia Sullivan/staff photo

World War II: Washington Remembers will be on the display at the Historical Society of Federal Way beginning Dec. 7 through May 2020. Olivia Sullivan/staff photo

More in News

Vote for Best of Federal Way 2020

Vote for your favorite Federal Way restaurants, businesses, community leaders and more.

Don’t forget: Vote for Best of Federal Way businesses, leaders and more

Click here to vote for your favorite Federal Way restaurants, businesses, community leaders and more.

Puppies get a warm welcome from South King Fire and Rescue

Seattle-based nonprofit Resilient Hearts Animal Sanctuary helps rescue and re-home animals from high risk situations and fosters loving relationships along the way.

Federal Way school bus driver reports man exposing genitals to students

A subject matching the description was located in the area who stated he was urinating as the bus passed by.

Former Federal Way school nurse pleads not guilty to child rape, sexual misconduct

Defense attorneys told the judge Mark David Glenn “has been receiving death threats” and people have showed up at his Auburn home.

SKFR board preserving commissioner’s seat despite lengthy absence

Fossos has been absent from board duties since he was admitted to hospital in March 2019; board plans to address issue at Jan. 28 meeting.

If passed, Senate Bill 6254 would limit the nicotine concentration of vape products, ban certain flavoring chemicals and require vape manufacturers, distributors and retailers to obtain licenses from the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board. File photo
Lawmakers propose sweeping regulations for vaping industry

Bill supporters cite concerns over health issues and teen use.

FTA awards $790 million grant for Federal Way, Kent light rail extension.

Construction to start in 2020, be completed in 2024

Former nurse charged with child rape worked at 20 Federal Way schools

Federal Way school district contacted parents, guardians of 573 students who may have been in contact with the nurse.

Most Read