To honor their veterans and provide a place for reflection and healing, the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe (MIT) asked Nakano Associates to help design a new Veterans Memorial. Working closely with the MIT Veterans committee, Nakano Associates developed several concepts for the park. The final design concept “The Long Way Home” represents the journey that veterans have taken, travelling from their native lands to faraway places to defend and protect the American people. A winding path and a dry stream, representing the Green and White rivers, meander through the site and converge at the Veteran’s Memorial. The meandering of the path slows down the pace of the visitor and transports them to a different mindset, where they can arrive at a place that is contemplative and restorative. The meandering path to the memorial plaza is edged with exposed river pebbles, and it traverses several footbridges as the path crosses the dry, river-cobble-lined stream bed.
The memorial plaza is slightly elevated, giving visitors a view of Mt Rainier as a backdrop to the Eagle Memorial Wall. The sound of water is created by a curved water wall that flows behind a 25’ long by 4’ tall eagle, to which veteran recognition feathers are affixed. Flagpoles are located behind the memorial wall. All walls are cast in place concrete wall stained black by iron oxide.
Adjacent to the memorial plaza is the meadow, a mowed usable area that visually connects the Memorial Plaza with the Grieving Mothers area. Alongside this lawn area is a ceremonial line up of the flags of the 5 armed services branches. The pavilion at the Grieving Mothers area is designed to evoke the traditional cedar hats worn by Coast Salish tribes.
Plant material throughout the project is primarily native to the Pacific Northwest, with Western Red Cedar and Yellow Cedar trees forming a backdrop along the west property line. Many Northwest native plants that were used historically by warriors for first aid are used throughout the park.
A Garry Oak offering tree is located in the meadow and is surrounded by low river rock seating walls that encircle the tree.
Location: Auburn, Washington
Client: Muckleshoot Indian Tribe
Artist: Jeffrey Veregge