Vets remembered, in outer East Portland

See members of “America’s Greatest Generation”, as they take time – at this special ceremony – to honor all who have given their lives in the service of their country in the Armed Forces …

At the flagpole, VFW 4248 members Bob Van Dyne and Jim Hale, post the colors at this Veteran’s memorial service in the Gateway area.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Because they served in the Armed Forces, many of the residents and guests who came to the Veteran’s Memorial Celebration at Parkview Christian Retirement Community on NE 108th Avenue on May 25 know – from personal experience – that Memorial Day is more than just another three-day holiday.

“With many residents here who have been in the service of our country, it’s only appropriate that we do something like this for them, and for the greater community,” said Parkview’s Lou Fontana.

“We want to show everybody around us that we appreciate what our servicemen and women did for us, helping to keep our country free,” continued Air Force veteran Fontana. “We’re proud to honor our veterans here on campus, those who come to visit, and our employees.”

After the Flag Ceremony, members of the VFW 4248 Honor Guard offer a 21-gun salute.

Retired Portland Police Bureau Officer Garth Edwards, who is with the Bureau’s Highland Guard, pipes “Amazing Grace”.

In morning drizzle, members of the VFW 4248 Color Guard raised the flag, and lowered it to half staff, as retired US Army Warrant Officer Earl Barton bugled.

The VFW 4248 fired 21 rounds in honor those fallen in the service of our country, and a Portland Police Bureau Highland Guard played mournful bagpipe melodies.

A World War II Air Force bomber pilot, Bill Goble, proudly waves the flag.

Inside Parkview’s social hall, nearly every seat was filled as the following formal service got underway. Parkview’s Lou Fontana introduced the speaker, Ted Wolcheck, a veteran of the 82nd 101st Airborne – who served at, among other places, Vietnam’s infamous “Hamburger Hill”.

“Because of my service in Vietnam,” Wolcheck began, “I know, too well, about memorial services.

“Because of the Constitution of the United States of America, we know we must remember that we are a republic. The government answers to us, not we to them.”

Veteran Ted Wolcheck presents the Memorial Service message.

After reading the preamble of the United States Constitution, Wolcheck looked up and said that he brought copies of it with him. “It’s a good idea to look at it, and remember it. This is how we ought to be ruled. Nothing else. When people [in government] bring in other ideas, they are wrong.

“We can’t even attempt to read the [very long] honor roll of the dead who have served our nation. Are you and I grateful for what these people have done for us?

“It is clear that our founding fathers, according to the Second Amendment of the Bill of Rights, ordered a well-regulated militia, necessary to secure our safety and freedom. It’s true. To keep the peace, we need a military that is ready to go to war.

“Some say the Constitution of the United States is flawed. It’s not as flawed as the people who are interpreting it that way are flawed.”

After Wolcheck’s inspiring patriotic message, members of the assembly shared their experiences, both as members of the Armed Forces, and as family members of those who went to war.

On Monday, Memorial Day, take a moment to remember those who serve our great nation.

On the cover: US Army Infantryman Arnie Olson salutes the flag of the United States of America. Olson also served in General Eisenhower’s headquarters in Europe for much of World War II.

© 2010 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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