Memorial Day Commemoration again held in Lents

INCLUDES VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS | Discover how people took time from the holiday weekend’s revelries to attend this meaningful, solemn occasion at Willamette National Cemetery …

On Memorial Day at Willamette National Cemetery, people gather to commemorate those who died in service to our country.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

While the end-of-May holiday weekend marks the start of summer activities for many families, hundreds of folks made their way up Mt. Scott, in the Lents neighborhood, on Memorial Day – Monday morning, May 27 – at the Department of Veterans Affairs Willamette National Cemetery (WNC).

Watch our video highlights of this moving service:

As in past years, at the outdoor amphitheater there was a very special event: the 74th Annual Memorial Day Observance.

This included a solemn Memorial Day wreath-laying ceremony, accompanied by speeches, and the playing of Taps.

US Armed Forces veterans and their families listen, as the program begins.

Similar observances took place around Oregon and the nation, at Department of Veterans Affairs cemeteries, as WNC Director Jared Howard told East Portland News.

WNC Administrative Officer Stephanie Ouellette served as Master of Ceremonies, introducing Chaplain Frank Clore to give the invocation.

The Joint Color Guard marched forward for the Posting of the Colors; which was led by Jered Fisher – who also gave the Pledge of Allegiance.

Again this year, the trio Praise in 3D performed, starting off by leading the National Anthem, and later in the program offering other selections, including the Lee Greenwood song, “God Bless the USA”.

After the welcome message by WNC Assistant Director Margaret Ayers, and the Wreath Presentation, the Oregon Symphonic Band performed the “Service Hymn Medley”, honoring the six services of the United States Armed Forces: Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Space Force.

WNC Assistant Director William Leady presentied the Memorial Day Address.

WNC Assistant Director William Leady gave the Memorial Day Address – which included why this day had special meaning to him, for those with whom he works, and more importantly, for the families of those who served our country and gave the “ultimate sacrifice” doing their duty.

As the commemoration nears its conclusion, the combined Portland Police Highland Guard Pipe Band and the Portland Fire Fighters Pipes and Drums play a moving rendition of “Amazing Grace” as the lowered American Flag waved about them at the top of the amphitheater.

While presenting the ceremony’s closing remarks, WNC Director Jared Howard tells of the special significance of Memorial Day has for him.

With a Rifle Salute; a benediction; the playing of Taps; and Retirement of the Colors, the service was dismissed as the bagpipers played out audience.

At the close of the program, many of those who attended visited the final resting places of friends and family in the cemetery.

Memorial Day is simply a holiday for many; but to experience the deeper meaning of the day, and the honored dead it commemorates, plan on making that trip up Mt. Scott with your family next Memorial day, and allow some time for reflection in that peaceful and quiet environment.

© 2024 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™

 

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