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.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@federalwaymirror.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.federalwaymirror.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

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

The Federal Way Performing Arts and Event Center is located at 31510 Pete von Reichbauer Way S. Olivia Sullivan/the Mirror
New vaccination site may open at Federal Way’s Performing Arts and Event Center

While no location decision has been made yet, Public Health — Seattle & King County says new sites will serve between 500-2,000 people per day.

West Point Treatment Plant in Seattle. Photo courtesy of King County
Power outages cause massive wastewater spill into Puget Sound, Lake Washington

King County estimates millions gallons of untreated wastewater overflowed into surrounding waters.

Democrats in the Washington State House are proposing to pay for transportation improvements partly by raising the gas tax by 18 cents. (Sound Publishing file photo)
House Democrats lay out massive $26B transportation package funded by gas tax hike

An 18-cent gas tax increase and a fee on carbon emissions would fund new roads and more.

File photo
Report: 70 percent of gun deaths in Washington are attributable to suicide

Research done at The Firearm Injury and Policy Research Program at Harborview… Continue reading

June 2018 algae bloom. Photo courtesy of Department of Ecology
Human-caused ‘dead zones’ threaten health of Puget Sound

Wastewater treatment plants account for about 70% of the excess nutrients.

Robert Allen, 61, had never been homeless in his life before 2019, when he lost his housing. The chef has been trying to get back on his feet, and hopes to open a nonprofit and make hot sauce. File photo
King County implements 0.01% sales tax to raise money for housing the homeless

Officials plan to buy hotels, motels and nursing homes for conversion into permanent housing.

Teaser
Social media site Parler returns after registering with Sammamish company

The right-wing social media website is not being hosted by Epik, but registered its domain.

Local restaurants have had to adapt to new rules during the COVID pandemic. Pictured: JP’s Tavern in Federal Way’s turkey club sandwich with a side of tater tots. File photo
State lawmakers propose bill to fast-track the governor’s reopening plan

Bill’s sponsors want to give legislature control over COVID-19 restrictions.

Fentanyl. (Courtesy photo)
King County reports record numbers of drug overdose deaths

Preliminary toxicology testing shows most overdose victims used multiple types of drugs.

Most Read