‘A feeling of pride’: Cleveland High School war memorial — a forest in Issaquah — is rededicated

The school’s alumni who died in wars are remembered in words and deed Friday, as classmates place a monument amid the beauty of a forest purchased just for them during World War II.

Jenny Rose stood in front of a new granite monument at the edge of the Cleveland High School Memorial Forest on Friday morning and recalled her childhood friend, Iggy.

“He was just a little guy,’’ Rose said, “but he was always the one who was laughing.”

She and Iggy grew up in the shadow of the old Rainier Brewery, two among a multiethnic pack of kids who wore the red-and-white colors of Cleveland’s Eagles, and sang the school song with gusto, she said.

When Iggy was drafted into the U.S. Army in the late 1960s to fight in the Vietnam War, Rose and her friends corresponded with him regularly.

“And then one day, the letters stopped,’’ she said, choking back tears.

Seeing his name — Ignacio E. Duro — etched in granite at the memorial forest for the first time on Friday was a healing moment, she said, one that connected her to four generations of Eagles who gathered to rededicate the forest in a ceremony that has honored Cleveland’s fallen alumni for more than 72 years.

The forest dates back to World War II, when schools around the country feverishly raised money for the war effort. Well-funded schools raised enough for a tank, a jeep, even a plane for the U.S. military. Cleveland’s working-class students raised $300 between 1943 and 1944, said John Barton, the Cleveland High School Alumni Association vice president.

Barton, Class of ’54, said students were embarrassed that they weren’t able to raise more. That year, at the suggestion of their principal, they used the money to buy 131 acres of logged land in what is now Issaquah. Students worked to restore the land, planting trees and building trails and facilities for visitors.

After World War II, students in…

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