The people of Kent have many stories to share about the past. This space is reserved for those stories. Please submit your own story by clicking on the link below. Significant stories will find a home on this page as long as space remains.
To submit your story, click on the book.
Message from the President - September 2001
Lessons From the Past
With our prayers and thoughts on the tragedy occurring in New York,
Washington and Pennsylvania we have an opportunity today to look to our
local past and learn. We as Americans are made of many backgrounds,
cultures and faiths. Our ancestors come from all continents. We are
African Americans, Native Americans, European Americans, Asian Americans,
and many other races. We are of every faith. We are American and our strength
is in being together as one nation proud of our diversity. We have learned
like no other place in the world how important it is to live together in peace.
It is not always easy, but we know that we must succeed and lead the world in
this ideal. It is with this in mind, as you think about our future, you might
also consider recollections of our past.
Located on the grounds of the Bereiter House Museum is a beautifully landscaped
artwork titled "Another Place, Another Time". This piece was dedicated in
1998 to recognize and honor the rich history and culture of the Kent area
Japanese- American Community. The artist was Stuart Nakamura.
Last winter, as a docent at the museum, I saw an elderly gentleman looking
down on the artwork. He stood silent for a long while as he read the words.
It was a story told by a former Kent schoolgirl... The young school children
were informed by their teacher that the Japanese had just bombed Pearl Harbor.
They were stunned and frightened. The classroom seemed silent. It was then
that a classmate of Japanese decent stood up and stated, "I am proud to be an American!!"
I approached the gentleman and asked if I could assist him in any way.
He responded with a smile and said he was that boy! He then proceeded to
tell me of his childhood and of his family's internment during the war. He
never returned to Kent until last year.
His story reminds us of how we as a people can lose sight of what truly makes
America great and free. There are stories in our museum of heroism by our
Japanese-American brothers in World War II who fought valiantly for our
country. Yet we interned their families. Many never returned. Those who
did dealt with a fair share of misguided protest.
Time has healed many wounds. But, more importantly, time and a new understanding
of our American ideals has taught us to learn from our past history; not only
from our success, but especially from our failures.
We are tragically brought together again with a new challenge of understanding.
We read in the news of our Arab- American brothers and sisters being harassed
because of association. We hear of Islamic Mosques being vandalized with graffiti
because of their faith. I have talked with friends who are Muslim, who walk today
knowing that others look at them with suspicions and fear.
We cannot allow our current sorrow turn to hate thus destroying our progress
of civil rights attained in this nation. We also cannot resolve to seek justice
with out also seeking to find understanding and compassion for all our citizens.
We must continue to find ways to learn from and appreciate all who have joined us
in prayer and pain. And our children will look back at us in history and find that
we truly have learned as a nation what it means to be American.
God Bless America.
Bud Battles, President
Greater Kent Historical Society
From: Larry and Carol Malcom
I arrived in the Seattle area in 1960 and bought a house in 1961 on what
is now called Kent West Hill. We had a Kent mailing address, a Des
Moines telephone number and our kids went to Federal Way schools.
In 1961, the only north - south highway was highway 99. There were no
freeways. I worked for Boeing and went to the University of Washington
working on my masters degree part time. It took one hour to travel from
our house to the U of W.
On July 4, 1992, we moved into our final home which is a rambler and
located just two miles south of our first home. We are now within
Federal Way city limits, but since retirement have continued to do
volunteer work in Kent and Federal Way. I am currently saturated with
teaching (and assisting teachers) at the Federal Way Senior Center with
computer class instruction.
My wife Carol has devoted her life to Diabetes education and continues
to teach classes in Diabetes.