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Finally, Oregon opens a World War II monument

Local veterans are among those attending the June 6 dedication ceremony in Salem


by: BARBARA SHERMAN - MAKING NEW MEMORIES - Joe Doyon of Summerfield, standing in front of the wall with nearly 4,000 names of Oregonians who died during WWII, served in the Navy during WWII and participated in the D-Day invasion at Omaha Beach.The dedication of the Oregon World War II Memorial on June 6 didn't quite go off with military precision as a much-bigger crowd than expected showed up and had to be accommodated.

Oregon State Police troopers at the Capitol estimated the crowd to be about 2,500 although there was only seating for 500 veterans and their family members and friends, but due to a hot sun blazing down on the 1:30 p.m. ceremony, some people were no doubt happy to stand in the shade.

Approximately 152,000 Oregonians served in WWII, and more than 3,770 gave their lives, and the newly dedicated memorial was built to honor the Oregonians who served both at home and abroad as well as the members of all the Armed Services who have fought and died in every theater of battle.

Lou Jaffe, president of the WWII Memorial Foundation, led the 50-minute ceremony, which began with Chaplain Col. Ron McKay of the Oregon National Guard offering the same prayer that President Theodore Roosevelt gave on D-Day.

Gov. John Kitzhaber recalled the "history-defining" Operation Overlord, which is what the D-Day invasion was code-named, and all the sacrifices made that day. The memorial ceremony was scheduled to occur on the 70th anniversary of D-Day.

"Thank you for saving the world," Kitzhaber said.

A special guest at the event was Bob Maxwell of Bend, who is the oldest living recipient of the Medal of Honor.

by: BARBARA SHERMAN - PROUD PATRIOT  - Hank Hess of Summerfield, who served in the Air Force and Army reserves and is a member of Tigard American Legion Post 158, attended the dedication of Oregon's WWII Memorial in Salem.Bill Markham, a WWII bomber pilot and former legislator, said, "I'm tickled pink that I lived long enough to see this," and credited Jaffe with providing the leadership to raise the $1.25 million needed to build the memorial.

It covers a 75-by-75-foot area located on the Capitol grounds in Willson Park at the corner of Cottage and Court streets. Surrounding a 33-foot-high obelisk, which signifies Oregon as the 33rd state to join the Union, are walls engraved with the names of the nearly 4,000 Oregonians who gave their lives to defend our nation's freedom.

In addition, pavers etched with a global map mark the historic battle sites of WWII, and two benches are placed to invite visitors to sit and reflect.

Dirk Kruysman is a survivor of occupied Holland during the war and remembered the leaflets and photos that were dropped to inform people that Allies were coming to rout the Germans. "Many people lived because of the U.S. and British forces," he said.

Major General Daniel Hokanson, Oregon's adjutant general, gave the keynote address, reminding the audience of the many sacrifices made by those who served during WWII, and added, "Thank you for the example you set then and today."

The ceremony concluded with Jaffe saying, "This memorial is not about glorifying war but as an everlasting reminder of the importance of working together."

Finally, there was a wreath laying, a rifle salute, the playing of "Taps," a ribbon cutting and an aircraft flyover that included both new and vintage airplanes.

The veterans and their families were then invited to tour the memorial and share their memories.

The Veterans Administration estimates that more than 500 veterans are passing away daily and that nearly one million WWII veterans are still living, including more than 17,000 in Oregon.

The continuing efforts of the Oregon WWII Memorial Foundation will be carried out by the Historical Outreach Foundation, which will offer school presentations about WWII and an online database for military biographies (www.veteranslegacies.com), and will continue to collect, preserve and share the rich military history of veterans who served at home and abroad at the new Oregon Military Museum.

For more information, people may visit This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 503-683-6161.