Tualatin Memorial Day events set for Monday
The Tualatin chapter of Veterans of Foreign Wars will once again pay tribute to those who served their country and those who have died in the service of this nation.
The annual Memorial Day event is set for 10:45 a.m. at the Winona Cemetery, 9900 S.W. Tualatin Road. It will include a "missing man maneuver" flyover by the West Coast Ravens, a group of pilots who fly RV airplanes.
The planes fly in formation at air shows and other aviation events, adhering to strict flying standards.
The flyover will be followed by the Tualatin High Crimsonaires, a choral group, who will sing the National Anthem followed by the Tualatin Police Color Guard posting colors.
Bill Manderfield, a former U.S. Army Ranger who has a Purple Heart, will lead the gathering with the Pledge of Allegiance. Kathy Walsh, who has been involved with the Memorial Day cemetery observance since it began in 1998, will recite the poem "In Flanders Fields." Martin Murrell will play taps.
U.S. Army veteran Len Kaufman is this year's honored veteran.
During his time in the service, Kaufman flew combat assaults, extractions, resupply, command and control missions as well as long-range reconnaissance patrol and other skilled missions. A member of the West Coast Ravens since 2006, he will also be narrating the flyover at the Tualatin commemoration.
Winona Cemetery is the resting place of numerous veterans dating back as far back as the Civil War.
For Dale Potts, who has served as emcee and coordinator of the Memorial Day observation since 2000, it will be a bittersweet event as it will be his last year leading the annual event. "Promoting patriotism has been very significantly satisfying for me," said Potts. "I think I started doing that (when) I made Eagle Scout at age 13."
Potts is well known for this — when he volunteers to recite the Pledge of Allegiance at city or civic events in the Tualatin area, he's often introduced as "Mr. Patriot."
Potts, who is retired from the U.S. Navy, served aboard the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown during the Vietnam War where he spent three years on active duty. He later served 27 years in the Navy Reserves as a public affairs officer.
In 1991, he was one of four public affairs people who helped coordinate U.S. Navy press and media relations for the 50th anniversary commemorating the bombing of Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.
Potts estimates he belongs to as many as 12 military support organizations. He estimates there are 1,000 veterans in Tualatin and the surrounding area.
Next year, retired U.S. Army veteran Jesse Thompson, a member of Tualatin VFW Post 3452, will lead the traditional gathering.
Even though he won't be in the forefront of next year's event, Potts hopes to be helping out.
"I'll continue to lead the Pledge," he said. "I've met some really great friends out of this."
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