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Oregon's World War II memorial to be unveiled

Local veterans have eagerly awaited the completion of the long overdue monument


The list of states without a World War II memorial will no longer include Oregon, as the state unveils its 75-by-75 foot memorial in the state capitol's Willson Park on Friday, June 6, at 1:30 p.m., coincident with the 70th anniversary of D-Day.

"Oregon was one of only six states that did not have a WWII memorial, and that needed to change," said Lou Jaffe, U.S. Army Vietnam War veteran and president of the Oregon WWII Memorial Foundation. "Oregonians deserve this memorial to honor the veterans and their families who worked and served in World War II."

Local WWII veteran Bob Ervin, phm. mate 3/C of the U.S. Navy, believes it is an excellent way to recognize Oregon’s veterans.

“I think it also honors the people at home that did the job to give us the equipment when we were over there,” said Ervin. “They were just as important. It was one big team effort.”

Ervin also appreciates the people and organizations that have donated funds for the construction of the memorial.

“We are losing about 600 WWII veterans a day across the country,” he said. “Other states have a memorial and Oregon should have one as well.”

At the site's center stands a 33-foot-high obelisk, a reference to Oregon being the 33rd state in the union. The engraved names of the 3,771 fallen Oregon service members from that war are inscribed on low standing walls surrounding the obelisk, believed to be the only five-sided structure of its kind in the country. Two black granite benches will provide visitors an opportunity to sit and reflect on the sacrifice of wartime during their visit.

The event is expected to draw crowds from all across the state, including WWII veterans, school groups, and officials representing historical, military and community organizations.

In 2011, the Oregon Legislature authorized an official Oregon World War II Memorial to be built on the capitol grounds. The Oregon World War II Memorial Foundation is the non-profit organization charged with raising private funds to build the memorial and to unify Oregon communities by honoring their veterans from that era, along with the generation of people who supported the war effort on the home front.

Names listed on the memorial's wall are based on confirmed records of military personnel either born in Oregon or enlisted in the U.S. Armed Forces from Oregon who were killed in action.

The memorial foundation has defined those eligible to be included in the memorial as follows: “an individual is considered killed in action when their death was caused by enemy action, they died of wounds sustained by enemy action, death occurred while a prisoner of war, or became and remained missing in action, during WWII combat operations against the enemy between May 27, 1941 and Jan. 31, 1946.”

The site also includes a world map engraved on the memorial's pathways, complete with smart phone QR codes providing links to online information, providing facts about individuals, battles, and key events of the war.

According to the Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs, 152,000 Oregonians took part in military action during the war, with 3,757 killed in action or as the result of wounds received during the conflict. There are currently 20,850 war veterans living in Oregon today.

The story told at the memorial is something that Navy Seebee Arthur Welch thinks everyone should understand.

“I think it’s a great thing to let people know that we have been there, done it, and are back home,” he said. “People should know these things that went on in our history.”

The following Crook County residents’ names appear in the Veterans Legacies data base and are identified as a veteran of WWII. Starred names are those that meet the criteria for being included on the WWII state memorial in Salem.

Edgar Chester Abbey, *Leroy E Allen, *William F Berry, Calvin J Butler, Lloyd Leon Carnagey, Robert E Coshow, William L Crook, Rupert Noble Davis, *Gerald Webb Foley, *Dwight E Gard, Ray Irving Glasgow, Harvey Edwin Hansen, Marleau Smith Harris, Eathel E House, Charles William Hutchinson, David Wright Iverson, LaVern B Lamp, Norman D McLean, Milo Gardner Palmer, Clifford W Sylvester, Marion D Trowbridge, Robert Orville Yancey, *William Alfred Compton, Harold V Crook, *Donald Peter Fender, *Dexter Wilson Fincher, * Billy W Gray, *Charles Leland Halsey, *Beachard (NMI) Hicks, *James D Higgens, *George Milton Hime, Willard E Jones, *John B McClain, *Virgil D Parrish, *Robert F Prine, *Patrick G Quinn, *Edgar Vernon Roberts, Henry Andrew Williams, *James L Williams, *Leslie Neil Wright.

For more information, or to donate to the Oregon World War II Memorial, visit www.oregonwwiimemorial.com or  www.indiegogo.com/projects/oregon-wwii-memorial.

The dedication of the memorial is scheduled to take place in Salem at Willson Park, located at the corner of Court and Cottage streets on Friday, June 6, at 1:30 p.m.



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