Oregon National Guard Citizen-Soldiers and Airmen participated in several Memorial Day community events on May 29, 2023, honoring service members who died for their country in observances around the state of Oregon.
In Beaverton, American Legion Post 124 hosted their annual Memorial Day ceremony at Veterans Memorial Park as Oregon Governor Tina Kotek, U.S. Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici, 1st Congressional District of Oregon, Mayor Lacey Beaty and Keynote speaker for the ceremony, Oregon Air National Guard Col. Todd Hofford, 142nd Wing Commander, were among the featured guest that addressed those in attendance.
“My father served our country in Korea in the Army, his service shaped my admiration and respect for those who serve and their families who stand by them,” said Gov. Kotek. “Today across our great state, across our great nation, people are gathering in remembrance of loved ones who where lost and honoring the bravery of our fallen service members.”
Prior to becoming Governor earlier this year, Kotek served as the Speaker of the House for over nine years. She recalled meeting with family members of fallen service members from Oregon, being remembered in resolution.
“Every time – I was caught-up by these life stories of young Oregonians, who went into the bigger world for their country, and never to come back. They are Oregon – and I will not forget their stories.”
Also in attendance was Larry Wittmayer, Commander of the American Legion Department of Oregon as the ceremony featured the American Legion Post 185 Band, playing music throughout the hour-long ceremony.
Speaking to those in attendance, Hofford traced the lineage of those who have died in the nation’s wars back to the founding of the country.
“More than 1,275,000 Americans have died in war and conflict since 1775,” he said, speaking to the audience during the mid-day gathering. “History has so often reminded us, Liberty is not fairly gained, nor is it easily obtained or preserved and must be continually safeguarded by each generation.”
At the conclusion of the ceremony, a Howitzer Salute was performed by the Oregon Army National Guard’s Battery ‘A’ of the 2-218th Field Artillery.
A Joint Service Honor Guard team and other Oregon Soldiers and Airmen took part in the Memorial Day Ceremony at Willamette National Cemetery in Clackamas. Oregon Senator Ron Wyden spoke to those attending, noting that “Americans always get it right…after they’ve tried everything else,” a quote attributed to Winston Churchill during WWII.
During a Memorial Day ceremony in Medford, the Oregon Army National Guard Honor Guard, conducted a flag folding ceremony for a family member of a fallen service member, held at the Memory Gardens Memorial Park.
Throughout the state, the Oregon Air National Guard’s 142nd Wing and 173rd Fighter Wing flew patriotic flyovers at ceremonies and parades in over a dozen towns and cities.