On November 11, 1919, the first anniversary of the end of World War I, Americans celebrated the first Armistice Day. Six years later, Congress passed a resolution for an annual observance and beginning in 1938, November 11 became a national holiday honoring all American veterans, both living and dead. In 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower officially changed the name of the holiday to Veterans Day.
Burien, and neighboring Highline communities, have a special place in the history of this day. Des Moines Memorial Drive was established as a “Living Road of Remembrance” in 1921 to honor World War I soldiers. This eight-mile stretch of road cuts through several Highline communities, including Burien. In 1921, over 1,400 elm trees were planted in honor of Washington veterans who died serving in World War I.
This Thursday, the Des Moines Memorial Drive Preservation Association and the Cities of SeaTac and Burien are hosting a ceremony to celebrate the centennial anniversary of Des Moines Memorial Drive. During the ceremony, attendees will join in the national bell ringing at 11:11 a.m. The history of the memorial drive will be presented, and indoor exhibits will be available for people to learn more.
Des Moines Memorial Drive Veterans Day Ceremony
November 11, 2021, at 11 a.m.
Sunnydale Elementary School, 15623 Des Moines Memorial Dr. S, Burien, WA 98148
Preserving the memorial trees
The Cities of SeaTac and Burien are partnering with Forterra to preserve the trees of Des Moines Memorial Drive by educating property owners along the road about the benefits and proper care of trees. Public artworks have been installed in recent years to bring new life to the memorial road.
Honoring veterans at home
According to the U.S. Census, more than 2,700 Burien community members have served in the military. Veterans, and the families of veterans, contribute to all aspects of Burien’s community life. Burien is also home to the Paralyzed Veterans of America, Northwest Chapter, whose mission is to improve the quality of life for veterans who have a spinal cord injury or dysfunction, while advocating for civil and disability rights for all.
There are many ways to honor veterans in our communities and families, from supporting organizations that help veterans to shopping at local veteran-owned businesses. Veterans Day events are occurring throughout the region and are a way to honor the sacrifice made by those who have served in the military. The City of Burien asks our community to reflect on the true meaning of this day and thanks veterans for their service!
More events and resources
- Veterans Resource Fair (King County Library System)
- Veterans Business Outreach Center – Region X
- Follow the City of Burien’s economic development team on Facebook and Instagram for resources for veterans in business