Plaza eagles in place atop poles

Is a Veterans cemetery next?

The flagpoles and the Jerry Taylor Veterans Memorial Plaza in Sunnyside are complete with globes and eagles.

Credit: Courtesy Greg Schlieve
The flagpoles and the Jerry Taylor Veterans Memorial Plaza in Sunnyside are complete with globes and eagles.

The Jerry Taylor Memorial Veterans Plaza took another step toward completion with the installation of globes and eagles on the flag poles.

At about the same time a new memorial opportunity surfaced.

Plaza lead man Greg Schlieve announced the Veterans Administration wants to site a new cemetery between Yakima and Walla Walla, and Schlieve would like that to be Sunnyside.

In addition to being honored with such a cemetery, Schlieve believes the cemetery would benefit the city economically.

“Lots of people visit those cemeteries,” he said. “They might also want to visit the memorial plaza. It could a part of tourism here.”

The installation of the globes and eagles took about five hours with the help of two public works employees — Randy Peters and Jaime Alvarez — and a Sunnyside crane truck.

Schlieve expects to dedicate the flag poles in late September or early October.

Still to be completed is the installation of lights that highlight the flags at night.

“We can’t raise the flags until the lights are in,” Schlieve said.

Regarding a VA cemetery, Schlieve learned of it from Nate Bridges, who was watching a TV newscast that made mention of it.

Schlieve immediately started to make inquiries.

He learned the VA will build the cemetery. All it needs first is a site of at least 50 acres.

“They’ll pay for it, but if they’re going to pay for it, it will have to be inexpensive land,” Schlieve said.

“They generally have the land for cemeteries donated,” he added.

To Schlieve’s knowledge, veterans and their spouses are eligible for burial in VA cemeteries. Children of vets are not.

Schlieve said this project, if it is to happen, will need someone to lead it. He said it will need someone knowledgeable in the workings of government.

“It will be a full-time, 40 hours a week job for three months for who’s ever going to do it,” he said.


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