Once-forgotten pioneer cemetery visited on Veterans Day

There are several ceremonies around the region to honor all U.S. military veterans on Veterans Day Friday.

Volunteers will be at Evergreen-Washelli Cemetery in North Seattle to place flags at every marker in the Veterans Cemetery.

Boy Scout troops and families usually come out to place the flags at 5,000 markers.

Volunteers will arrive at 7 a.m. Friday to get things ready for a 10:30 a.m. ceremony to honor veterans.

A lot of people visit that cemetery on Veterans Day, but meanwhile, there is a historic cemetery that was lost, then re-discovered in the middle of a Winco parking lot, right next to State Route 167 in Kent.

A green patch of land there is actually a cemetery that dates back to 1873 and is the final resting place of five Civil War veterans.

It's called the Saar Pioneer Cemetery, named after Peter Saar, who was a businessman and a King County Councilman in the 1870s.

At the time, there wasn't a cemetery in Kent, so when his wife died during childbirth, he buried her on their property and then allowed other friends and family members--pioneers of the Kent Valley--to inter their loved ones there as well.

Volunteer caretakers say veterans often come and pay tribute to their fellow soldiers who were buried there more than a century ago.

One veteran in particular stands out to caretaker Sylvia Gray.

"He said, ‘Things are just not good in my life.’ But I come and I sit next to Mr. Warren, and I talk to him. And he says, ‘When I leave here, I feel better,’” said Gray.

In 2004, the cemetery was overgrown with blackberries, ivy and shrubs, and the headstones were lost in the brush.

The Kent United Methodist Church, which owns the property, teamed up with the South King County Genealogical Society and spent years cleaning it up, documenting each burial site and replacing broken and missing headstones.

It's a fascinating place that connects people to the history of Kent, but it has an even greater importance on Veterans Day, since there are a handful of veterans buried there.

Families are honoring veterans this morning by placing flags at 5,000 markers at Evergreen Washelli in North Seattle. #VeteransDay

Posted by Jeff Dubois on Friday, November 11, 2016

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