BOTHELL, Wash. — The mournful sound of "Taps" filled Bothell's Pop Keeney Stadium on Monday.
Beyond the solemn faces and heavy hearts, however, there was a certain joy this Memorial Day. It was the joy of a commitment kept for an old friend.
Jim Morrison was one of a small handful of young men from Bothell High School's class of 1964 who were sent to fight in Vietnam. Charles Slusser, Morrison's best friend, was among them. He was killed in action.
"I made a commitment to myself at that time in 1969 that I would do everything in my power to keep his memory alive," Morrison said.
Morrison and classmate Parl Guthrie discovered that, unlike many other school districts, their Northshore district did not have a war memorial. So, they set out to build one, raising more than $25,000 to construct a granite monument at the entrance to the stadium.
On Monday, it was unveiled.
"I can't even describe how good it feels," Morrison said. "It's a dream come true."
Sixteen Northshore names are carved into the stone, including Sgt. Darrell Ayers, killed in Vietnam in 1970. His body was never recovered.
His sister Pat Horst said that Ayers' name on the memorial felt like a little piece of him was finally home.
"It's nice to see that they're not forgotten anymore," Horst said. "We can look back and remember with pride the service that they performed for all of us."
A commitment kept, a community grateful, and for Morrison, a friendship that lives on.
"They didn't die in vain," he said. "Our classmates may be gone, but they will never be forgotten."