Vet builds memorial in his yard

Bikers and veterans search for it, and tourists sometimes stumble upon it by accident.
Jessica Cuffman
Sep 28, 2013
But no matter who visits George Keller’s veterans memorial in Bellevue, it always inspires the same reaction: awe and appreciation.

Keller, a Vietnam War veteran who served in the U.S. Army in Thailand, always wanted to build a memorial at his property, at the corner of Edmonds and Billings roads.

Two years ago, he started by installing a flagpole at the home he shares with his wife of 20 years, Sandy. A neighbor helped him dig a trench, and Keller built the base of the memorial, using bricks from an old Bellevue school building. He installed 12 engraved stones, one for each of the nation’s wars.

Since then, he and his wife have added to the memorial, piece by piece. They found replica military helmets in their travels, and George ordered replica rifles for eight of the 12 wars memorialized. He also added a plaque engraved with a prayer by Eleanor Roosevelt, “Wartime Prayer.”

The prayer hits on this: Somewhere out there, a soldier died for you today. For the Kellers, the memorial is like the pictures of Jesus or the crucifixes that people keep in their homes, representing their beliefs. “It’s like the religious artifact in your home,” Keller said. “Except in this case, it’s in my side yard.” 

When he built the memorial, he didn’t intend to attract unusual traffic. “More and more people are stopping by, just word of mouth,” Keller said. “People just riding by, taking this little back road to wherever they go.” He tries to talk to each visitor, pointing out the features on the plaques — the number of soldiers killed and wounded in wars. Every time, people are amazed. “Sometimes I think I can be the only person who feels something about something,” he said. “And I found out, there’s all kinds of people that feel like you, that think like you. “No one walks away with anything but good in their heart after they see it,” he said. Keller said he plans to keep adding to the memorial as he’s inspired.

He found a bald eagle statue at Cracker Barrel, and a bugle in a thrift shop. The next step: Replace the flagpole downed by a tornado this past summer. Interestingly, while the storm uprooted the flagpole, it left the helmets untouched — they remained in their places, on top of the rifles. “Not one helmet was blown off,” George said. “And the service flags weathered the storm.”

Comments

grandmasgirl

This is a beautiful reminder of what our military has given for us. If you get a chance, go check it out. I found it by accident. If you turn right just before the stop light at 4 and 113 (going south on 4), then at the stop sign, it is on your right.

Sandusksquach

The veterans memorial in my yard says "vote no on school levies". I feel the same way about veteran's benefits and military pensions.

ladydye_5

Good thing the some veterans fought for YOUR right to have those thoughts.

Sandusksquach

Yer right. If Saddam Hussein was still in power that would totall affect my right to free speech.

ladydye_5

Wow. I think you need to go back and learn some more American History. Have you heard of WWI? Korea? WWII? Would you rather speak German? Do you only know of "modern day" veterans? Go stick you head in the sand you friggin idiot.

Darwin's choice

On behalf of all the Veteran's......your welcome.

Sandusksquach

So yer a vet? Did you ever kill anybody? Let me guess you were in charge of managing toilet paper at some base in Oklahoma in the 1980s. Now you suck up benefits and pension payments raising my taxes.

ladydye_5

You sound rather bitter. Could you not get in? Not smart enough to pass the test? Did a veteran kick your a$$? What is your deal? Get over it. Yes some earn their benefits, some not so much. Get over it. Talk about raising taxes...how about you complain about all the illegal aliens that are going to get to be US CITIZENS with the wave of the idiot in the WhiteHouse's magic wand. THAT is something to complain about! Not a veteran.

Jimmy G

I served so you can be able to say what you want, but you Sandusksquach can just "$uck it"!

muggs

Just because a military member has not killed anyone does not mean they are not a vet. We are sorry you couldn't get in because of your incompetence. But do not hold that against those of us who have served our country with pride. This man still continues to serve his military by paying the other veterans (both those living and those who gave the ultimate sacrifice) respect EVERY DAY!! Maybe your mother should have taught you how to show respect.

queenjhb

This is a very tasteful memorial, deeply personal and moving, I 've had direct ancestors in The American Rev. War, American Civil War ,W.W.II ,Korea, and Vietnam . Thank you for honoring all those men & women , gone, but not forgotten .