CHS Monument

Recap of our 2022 Memorial Ceremony at the Forest

It was supposed to rain, but fortunate for us, the clouds lifted, the sun shone through, and it was a beautiful day at the CHS Memorial Forest. Here is a recap of the day.

Arrival and Trek to the Rock
Two busses brought CHS students and five faculty members to attend this year’s Memorial ceremony and trek to the “Rock.” Together we walked along the path where, decades ago, other CHS students walked. We stood in front of the massive natural stone monument upon which they fixed hand-crafted bronze plaques (made in the metal shop) that listed the names of their classmates killed during World War II. Although, sadly, the individuals who stole the plaques years ago got away with the theft, the Rock still bears witness to what happened. The CHS spirit of the students who established the Forest in the first place lives on.
After the trek, our Vice President, John Barton ’54, told the story of the Forest and declared, “Cleveland High School is the only school in the universe with a Memorial Forest!”
Learn more about the history of the forest:

The Meaning of the Gold Star
John also explained the meaning of the term “Gold Stars.” During World War II, as in World War I, a flag with blue stars hung in a family home window displaying how many children were in harms way serving in the war effort as members of the Armed Services. When any children died in the war, a gold star took the place of the blue star.

CHS Gold Stars

Taps and Presentation of the Flag
Four helpful CHS students held the Flag while our president, Bernie Moscovitz, played taps on his authentic Civil War Bugle in place of a Colorguard. Afterward, Bernie presented to Marni Reecer in memory of her father, Lt Col J.A. Getchell, USMC, who fought in Vietnam.

Guest Speaker – Emil Martin ’42
Emil eloquently recounted his experience during World War II to an attentive, respectful audience of young and old Eagles. We hope to document more of what he said in a future post. All recognized him and his service and respected his generosity in taking the time to give his testimony.

The Quiz
Bernie Merkowitz challenged everyone with a quiz of facts culminating in several thoughtful anecdotes delivered as informational and food for thought! More on that in a future post as well!

Coffee, Snacks, Photos, and Conversations
Duke, a student from CHS, was there to record the event, and we hope to share some of his footage soon!

Lunch at the Salish Lodge – a new tradition?
Although we had initially planned to meet for lunch at the Roadhouse Inn, they could not accommodate us, so we opted to meet at the Salish Lodge at Snoqualmie Falls. It was a perfect gathering place, with delicious food, good company, and a fantastic server who brought lots of smiles to the table.

CHS Memorial Forest Ceremony Set for May 27, 2022

Cleveland High School is the only high school in the universe that has a Memorial Forest honoring our World War II heroes. Every Friday preceding the Memorial Day weekend the CHS Alumni Association has a ceremony at the CHS Memorial Forest to honor alumni* who lost their lives while serving in the US military. Our ceremony typically includes guest speakers to tell stories about some of our alumni who have served in the armed forces of the USA. An Honor Guard fires a salute to our fallen heroes, and Bernie Moskowitz ‘57 plays Taps. CHS students participate in a flag-folding exercise before it is presented to a survivor of a fallen loved one.

Our new granite monument naming our fallen heroes was installed in 2017, thanks to a generous donation from two alumni who wish to remain anonymous. A protective coating was provided by Frank & Haru Nishimura. Frank served in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, with good friend Yoshito Noritake who is listed on the monument.

Everyone is encouraged to make the trek to the Rock. The bronze plaques naming our fallen war heroes are no longer there, but it’s good to see this special place in the forest where our heroes were honored for so many years. Following the ceremony, refreshments are served to students, CHS staff, and guests. In some years, we have had four busloads of students but only one or two buses in most years. We are hopeful for a good turnout this year.

All expenses are paid by the CHS Alumni Association.

The maps below show our Memorial Forest is located between Issaquah and Fall City. After the ceremony, a number of us usually go to the Fall City Roadhouse & Inn for lunch. The Roadhouse provides a pleasant, old-fashioned setting that is perfect for renewing old acquaintances and making new friends. A wonderful way to end a memorable day.

For a day you will long remember, join us for the ceremony at the CHS Memorial Forest and lunch at the Roadhouse.

CHS Alumni Association Memorial Day Ceremony at the Forest
Friday, May 27, 2022, 11:00 AM
28322 SE Issaquah-Fall City Road, Fall City, WA

CHS Memorial Forest

Get Directions

*Our fallen heroes of WW II are documented in the book Honored Dead by our own Pat Rosenkranz ‘49.

Pat Rosenkranz honored by CHSAA

The CHSAA honored Pat Rosenkranz ‘49 by having eight copies of her book, “Honored Dead”, bound in hardcover and distributed to close family members and friends.

The following Preface was added to the newly covered books:

Honored Dead
Honored Dead, by Pat Rosenkranz

Her book, HONORED DEAD, tells the stories of the “Cleveland boys” who died while serving in the armed forces of our country during World War II. These men are honored and memorialized at the Cleveland High School Memorial Forest, which is located in east King County near Fall City, Washington.
During the war, the students of Cleveland High School (CHS) sought a way to honor classmates and alumni who were killed in the war. The graduating
classes of 1943 and 1944 raised money by holding car washes, fundraisers like the senior play, bake sales, donating pocket change, and other odd jobs, to come up with $300.

Science teacher, Joseph Hazzard, suggested that they purchase a tract of land and make it into a memorial forest. With that thought in mind, Vice Principal Ray
Imus took the money to a county tax auction of logged-off land. He bid on 131.52 acres. When word got around of what the CHS students and staff were trying to accomplish, no one bid against him. The property was purchased in the name of Principal Kenneth Selby.

But the story of the memorial forest doesn’t end there–– it was just the beginning. Weyerhaeuser donated 10,000 seedlings of Sitka Spruce, Douglas Fir, and Western Red Cedar, and the students planted them and nursed them until they were fully established. They dug a well, installed restrooms and a sewage drainage system, built utility sheds and a lyceum measuring approximately 50×25 feet.

It was Faith Beatty who worked with CHS students to research each of our Fallen Heroes to document how they lived and how and where they died. Using their work as a starting point, Pat worked for 2 years researching and writing the book, including tracing the maps by hand and spending untold hours to have the book as accurate as possible. Her major concern was finding a publisher who would help design and title the book’s cover to add meaning and compassion to the
history documented in the book.

Patricia Sullivan Rosenkranz
Pat Rosenkranz

To honor Pat’s work in writing Honored Dead, a motion was presented to the board of the CHS Alumni Association (CHSAA) to purchase hardcovers for eight of her books and give them to close family members and friends, the CHS Library, and the Seattle Public Library. CHSAA president, Bernie Moskowitz, led the
board in unanimously approving this motion.


It is our hope that these hardcovered books will serve as family heirlooms to help remember Pat’s accomplishments related to our Fallen Heroes, the CHSAA, and the CHS Memorial Forest.

Aerial View of Memorial Forest

Development Rights Proposal Passed Unanimously

Our proposal to sell the development rights of the CHS Memorial Forest went before the full school board today and . . . PASSED UNANIMOUSLY.  Noel Treat served as the attorney for SPS.  In the discussion prior to the vote, the line most commonly stated was our line . . . It’s a WIN-WIN-WIN situation.  SPS wins, King County Parks wins, and the CHSAA wins.

The proposal also included the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between SPS and CHSAA, which calls for $150,000 for a new lyceum, and CHSAA would be allowed to put up a new sign calling it the Cleveland High School Memorial Forest.

Board Meeting Minutes Excerpt:

Cleveland High School Memorial Forest Conservation Easement Agreement with King County and Memorandum of Understanding with the Cleveland High School Alumni Association (Ops, February 4, for approval) Approval of this item would authorize the Superintendent to execute a Conservation Easement Purchase and Sale Agreement with King County and to execute a Memorandum of Understanding between Seattle Public Schools and the Cleveland High School Alumni Association in the form of the draft agreements attached to the BAR, with any minor additions, deletions, and modifications deemed necessary by the Superintendent to implement these agreements. (Updated Since Introduction) Director Hersey moved to approve this item. Director Rivera-Smith seconded. Director DeWolf noted the update since introduction to add an excerpt from the Cleveland High School alumni newsletter. Directors spoke in support of the item.

This motion passed unanimously.

View minutes:

Aerial View of Memorial Forest

CHS Memorial Forest Update: Meeting with SPS

The Operations Committee of the Seattle School Board met via video conference on February 4th to address the proposal to sell the development rights of the CHS Memorial Forest to the King County Parks Department (KCPD). Noel Treat, the attorney handling the case for Seattle Public Schools (SPS), was to offer the presentation and invited CHS Alumni Association’s Vice President John Barton (Class of ’54)  to participate so he could answer questions about the letters of support if asked.

Mr. Barton was asked to comment after Mr. Treat spoke and briefly went over the alumni concerns over the survivability of the forest and said that selling the development rights to King County Parks was a great way of protecting the forest far into the future.

Before the meeting, Mr. Barton sent a series of emails to each school board member. Each email represented one of the military/patriotic organizations from which the Alumni Association received a letter of support for preserving the forest. Along with their letter of support, he included membership numbers of the respective organization for Washington State and King County. “The original intent was to dump a million letters of support on their desks, but that was difficult to do in a video-conference meeting,” said Mr. Barton.

Mr. Barton sent a second email to board members, that offered a brief history of the forest and the concerns of CHS alumni including:

  1. How the students worked for two years to save $300 to honor their fallen classmates.
  2. How Vice-Principal Imus took the $300 to a tax auction of logged-off timberland to bid on 131.52 acres.
  3. How no one bid against VP Imus when they heard the CHS students wanted to create a memorial forest.
  4. How the CHS students planted 10,000 trees on the logged-off land.
  5. How today, it’s a beautiful forest of Sitka Spruce, Douglas Fir, and Western Red Cedar, and is worth millions of dollars.
  6. How it was determined years ago that a high school cannot own property, so it was given to the school district as a perpetual memorial to . . “the Cleveland boys who lost their lives while serving in the United States armed forces.”
  7. How some people would sell the property just to get the money.

Barton then summarized the email by pointing out to prevent the property from being developed for any other use, the CHS Alumni proposes that the development rights of the property be sold to King County Parks as part of their conservation program.

Highlighted were the positive aspects of this proposal for all:

“We see this proposal as a WIN-WIN-WIN agreement. SPS retains ownership, KCPD expands their conservation program, and the CHS Alumni concerns for the longevity of the forest would be put to rest.”

A short discussion by the school board members followed. They mentioned the military and patriotic organizations that had provided letters of support, and they quoted Barton’s WIN-WIN-WIN statement above. It turns out that KCPD will pay $3.47 million for the development rights of the property if this agreement is accepted by both parties.

The board made a motion to submit the proposal to the full school board meeting and it passed unanimously.

The presentation of the CHSAA’s proposal to the full school board is scheduled for March 10th.

Saving the CHS Memorial Forest

Saving the CHS Memorial Forest

If we’re to save the Cleveland Memorial Forest, we need your help. Right Now. Here’s the story. And one simple thing you can do to help.


During WWII, enterprising CHS students with an eye to the future raised $300 to purchase property for a memorial forest. To make this dream a reality, they planted 10,000 trees and named it the Cleveland High School Memorial Forest, and dedicated it to CHS alumni who lost their lives during the war.

Today, it’s a beautiful 131-acre virgin forest filled with Douglas Fir, Sitka Spruce, and Western Red Cedar. It’s located northeast of Issaquah, and today it is worth millions of dollars. The property was given to Seattle Public Schools (SPS) as
a perpetual memorial to “the Cleveland boys who lost their lives during the war.” But now, with the school system always in need of money, alumni fear the property will be sold or used for some other purpose.

The CHS Alumni Association has been promoting a plan for SPS to sell the development rights to the property to a land-conservation group so the land can never be developed for any other use. SPS would still own the property, but this single act would likely protect the property in perpetuity from being developed for other uses.

We are making good progress in saving the forest. Should our plan proceed, it would have to be presented to the Seattle School Board for approval. We can best demonstrate broad-based support to preserve the Cleveland Memorial Forest by presenting letters of support from alumni and military-related


We had a busy spring gathering letters of support from alumni and military-related organizations to protect the CHS Memorial Forest. So far, we have received letters of support from the following national organizations, plus 54 from alumni.

  • The American Legion
  • The Veterans of Foreign Wars
  • Daughters of the American Revolution
  • American Ex-Prisoners of War
  • The Marine Corps League
  • The World War II Museum
  • Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War

The American Legion has 21,000 members in Washington State with over 6,000 members in King County. The Veterans of Foreign Wars has 24,000 members in Washington State, with over 7,000 members in King County. The Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) has 2,360 members in Washington State with 600 members in King County.


Memorial Day Weekend 2020

CHS Alumni board members, John R Barton, Alison Sing, and Bernie Moskowitz offer thoughts and music for this year’s Memorial Day, since we are not able to hold the annual ceremony in the CHS Memorial Forest.
Photo credit: Suzi Wong Swint @conwaysuz

A place of honor in our hearts and minds.

“Memorial Day is a day to honor our fallen heroes who lost their lives while serving our country in the United States armed forces. They sacrificed so our country could survive in a world often filled with strife, conflict, and turmoil.  We, the citizens of this country, owe them our gratitude, respect, and a place of honor in our hearts and minds. Our fallen heroes lost everything, including their opportunity for marriage, family, career, and the pursuit of happiness – the things we take for granted.

This Memorial Day is different because of the Coronavirus lockdown.

Normally, we would have a ceremony at the Cleveland Memorial Forest with students, alumni, and staff from our high school. Our ceremony would include an honor guard from Camp Murray, Bernie Moskowitz would play taps, and an American flag would be folded by students and presented to a family member of a fallen hero.

In place of our normal ceremony, we’ve put together a special video, as an opportunity for all of us to give pause and honor our special CHS fallen heroes.

We hope you’ll watch, remember, share with others, and may God Bless America.”

John Barton, Class of ’54
Vice President
CHS Alumni Association
Seattle, Washington

Remembering their unselfish sacrifice.

“As I wake up each day to face the challenges of current COVID-19 pandemic; I am thankful to all those men and women who wore our nation’s uniform and gave their ultimate sacrifice so that I can wake up each day to smell the roses, see the sunlight, and breathe the air. Their unselfish sacrifice without even knowing what challenges would face those they left behind engenders the best in all Americans who did not hesitate when their nation called for help. I am deeply proud of all the men and women, individuals who represent all nationalities and beliefs; that the freedoms enjoyed by all Americans must at times come with sacrifice. A sacrifice that those of us who wore the nation’s uniform was willing to give.

Let us honor them who have passed with the dignity that they have earned on our behalf so that we are here today among our families and friends. Let us not forget their families who lost their loved one on Memorial Day. For me, their sacrifice shall never be forgotten.

Although we may not gather to celebrate this special day with parades and fireworks, this is a small sacrifice we must endure. So, take a quiet moment in your home just say, “thank you” for your sacrifice, we shall never forget.”

Alison Sing ‘64

Cleveland Eagles Soar by Alison Sing

>>> Click here to learn more about our heroes. <<<

Update on saving the Memorial Forest

As reported by John Barton ‘54


We have been busy through February, March, and April requesting letters of support from alumni and patriotic organizations to help ensure the longevity of the CHS Memorial Forest. As explained in recent publications, our basic objective is to have Seattle Public School (SPS) sell the development rights of the Memorial Forest to the King County Parks Department (KCPD). Under this plan, SPS would retain ownership of the property but the forest would become a part of the King County forest conservation program, and could not be developed by SPS or any future owner.

We sent requests to over 100 patriotic organizations asking for their support and we received a good response. The most significant responses were from:

To our surprise, the American Legion post in Bellevue, WA sent a financial donation. And the local chapter of the DAR wants to be involved in our next ceremony at the Memorial Forest.

Protecting the CHS Memorial Forest

We started a letter drive in mid-February to solicit letters of support from alumni, individuals and patriotic organizations to back our plan to have Seattle Public Schools (SPS) sell the development rights of the CHS Memorial Forest to the King County Parks Department (KCPD) –– the details of this plan have been documented several times in past newsletters, and you may read them on the CHSAA website ( These letters of support are addressed to the Seattle School Board but mailed to CHSAA so we can hand-deliver them en masse at a time that provides maximum impact for protecting the CHS Memorial Forest. The following reflects our results to date.
The American Legion provided a great response, with letters of support from four posts in King County, one from the Gig Harbor area, and another from California. We didn’t solicit money in our drive, but Bellevue Post #239 sent us a check to help pay for our mailing expenses.

The American Legion has two million members nationwide, with 21,000 in Washington State and 6,000 in King County. All of the American Legion posts that we solicited sent a letter of support.

  • KENT POST #15

Similarly, we received a great response from the Veterans of Foreign Wars. The VFW has 475,000 members across the nation, with 24,000 in Washington State, and 7,000 in King County. We only had the address of two posts, but they responded favorably with letters of support:

  • Renton Post #1263
  • Kent-Meridian Post #6785

According to Commander Craig Dougherty of the VFW, there are 550,000 military veterans in Washington State. It is hard to imagine a single one of them not being in favor of supporting the CHS Memorial Forest. More than 160,000 of those veterans (30%) live in King County.

The Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) sent in a letter of support. The DAR has 180,000 members, with 2,360 in Washington State and 600 members in King County. The president of their Bellevue chapter, Lanabeth Horgen, is enthusiastic about the memorial forest and wants to participate in our next annual ceremony.

The Marine Corps League provided a letter of support for the CHS Memorial Forest. They represent 65,000 members overall, with 600 in Washington State and 43 in King County.

The Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War in Lancaster, Massachusetts, offer their full support. They have 6,200 members at the national level.

We Need Your Support

Download a letter of support, sign, and mail it to the address on the form. We will mail it with all the other letters we receive at a time that provides maximum impact for protecting our Memorial Forest.

Submit your letter of support

Read more about the Memorial Forest

NOTE: Our request-for-support campaign has been hampered by the coronavirus pandemic. Many organizations we tried to contact were shut down or not responsive.

Aerial View of Memorial Forest

Help protect the longevity of the CHS Memorial Forest

Please demonstrate your support of the plan to protect the longevity of the CHS Memorial Forest by having SPS sell the development rights of the property to the KCPD so the property can never be developed for any other use by SPS or any future owner.

For years, CHS alumni have been concerned about the CHS Memorial Forest being sold or developed for some use other than being a memorial.  The best way to protect the forest is to sell the development rights of the property to the King County Parks Department. This would result in a conservation easement being placed on the property to prevent development by Seattle Public Schools (SPS) or any future buyer of the property.  King County (KC) Parks is very much interested in purchasing the development rights as part of their conservation program.  The school district and park department are working on an agreement to make this happen, but the idea still needs to be approved by the Seattle School Board.  This is where you may be able to help.

Please sign download, print, and mail your letter of support by March 15, 2020, to

CHS Alumni Association
c/o J R Barton, Vice President
21006 SE 268th Ct.
Covington, WA 98042

View/Print/Download the following documents:

Protecting the CHS Memorial Forest

There has been slow progress in getting Seattle Public Schools (SPS) to sell the development rights of the CHS Memorial Forest to the King County Parks Department (KCPD). This has been our objective – a way of protecting the forest far into the future. Following such a transaction, SPS or any future buyer of the property would not be able to develop the property for any other purpose. I requested from David Kemmett (of KCPD) an update on the negotiations they are having with SPS:

School district administration staff have reviewed our proposal and provided comments. The district is also conducting its own appraisal. We hope to finalize an agreement in the next few months which would then need to go before the school district board for their review and approval.

In a recent email from Mr. Kemmett, he revealed that they, KCPD, would like to have an access trail/road across the north side of the property to connect Duthie Hill Park with Fall City Park West and the Forterra property. [The Forterra Property is a forest conservation group.]

The problem with this plan is that Duthie Hill Park is a mountain bike park and we have already had mountain bikes encroaching on the Memorial Forest and damaging some trails. I haven’t talked to a vast number of people on this subject, but I know of no alumnus who is in favor of having mountain bikes in the Memorial Forest.

I sent an email to Mr. Kemmett requesting that, in the spirit of our first Friends of the Forest meeting in September 2018, the members of the CHSAA forest committee be allowed to review their proposal to SPS. As suspected, they can’t do that in the middle of negotiations. In desperation, I contacted the Fonterra group to see if we could find an ally in them. Unfortunately, even motorbikes or motorized vehicles are not a problem with them.

We arranged a meeting with Mr. Noel Treat, the legal counsel who is representing SPS in the negotiations. Our objective was to convince Mr. Treat that we (CHSAA) are partners with him in the negotiations –– not an adversary. We expressed the following concerns:

  1. We are opposed to bicycles or any other vehicle encroaching into the Memorial Forest.
  2. We recommended that KCPD be responsible for placing barriers across trails to stop bicycles and similar vehicles.
  3. We recommended that the access strip be limited to a 15-foot-wide strip along the north edge of the property to connect Duthie Hill Park with Fall City Park West.
  4. We recommended that KCPD provide a bridge over Canyon Creek to protect fish.
  5. We suggested that SPS use a small fraction of the money they receive to
    • Rebuild the Lyceum (a 30×55 foot shelter destroyed by arson).
    • Develop and implement a Forest Management Plan (see below).

Unless someone comes up with a better idea, it seems that the best we can do is work towards a compromise where KCPD gets a narrow strip for mountain bikes on the north edge of the Memorial Forest, and we get barriers on the south side of the strip to prevent encroachment by bikes into the forested area.

Future Plans

Assuming that the development rights of the Memorial Forest are sold to KCPD, we intend to push SPS to work with CHSAA members to develop and implement a Forest Management Plan. The purpose of such a plan would be the prevention of “our” forest from being contaminated with large quantities of alder trees and salmonberry bushes. We believe a profit could be made by selective harvesting under this plan. The benefit to SPS would be a financially independent forest that is an asset to SPS and the community.

What else is bugging us

What value is there in a memorial to our war heroes if the memorial name doesn’t identify the heroes. SPS continues to refer to “our” memorial as the Cleveland Memorial Forest. Our memorial was not developed to honor President Grover Cleveland. The Cleveland National Forest in California does that. The proper name for our forest should be . . . The Cleveland High School Memorial Forest. We intend to persuade SPS to change the name, and CHSAA should agree to pay for a new sign – a sign made of concrete instead of wood. The last sign was broken up and burned by a homeless person living in the area.

Counting our successes

So far our new (2017) granite monument has not been vandalized, as our old bronze plaques were. Our new monument weighs almost a ton, it is difficult to steal and there is not a great market for used granite. I did apply another coat of anti-graffiti material to the monument in 2019.

CHS alumni should be proud that we are the only high school in the universe that has a memorial forest dedicated to alumni who lost their lives while serving in the armed forces of our government.

John R. Barton
Class of ’54