Community gathers for annual Memorial Day ceremony Monday morning, May 27, at Gresham Heroes Memorial

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - About 100 people gathered Monday morning, May 27, for a Memorial Day ceremony.For many people, Memorial Day marks is a three-day weekend and unofficial start to the summer — they go on trips, enjoy the sunshine, barbeque, and head to the pool.

"Memorial Day has a deeper meaning," said David Lowe, commander of the Gresham Veterans of Foreign Wars United Post 180. "It is about all those who gave their lives defending this country."

On Monday morning, May 27, about 100 people gathered to take a moment and reflect on the men and women who gave their lives serving the country. The Memorial Day ceremony was hosted by the VFW at the Gresham Heroes Memorial, at the corner of Southeast Powell Boulevard and Southeast Roberts Avenue. The event featured remarks from veterans, elected officials and community leaders.

"Today we honor those who lived and those who gave the ultimate sacrifice," Lowe said.

Those who spoke included Bess Wills, general manager of Gresham Ford; George Sims, commander with the American Legion; Don Dennis, commander with the Order of the Purple Heart; City Councilor Janine Gladfelter; Multnomah County Commissioner Lori Stegmann; Rep. Carla Piluso; and Sen. Laurie Monnes Anderson.

"The flags that fly here today fly from the last breath of the men and women who gave the final sacrifice," Wills said.

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - The event featured several speakers, including Sen. Laurie Monnes Anderson.Boy Scouts Troop 664 and Cub Scouts Pack 664 presented the colors, Ron Ruedi performed several patriotic songs, Jazzy Bagels served coffee, and Michelle Trapa, with the Gresham-Barlow School District, sang the National Anthem.

The Heroes Memorial Plaza isn't just in recognition of veterans, but also first responders who put their lives on the line serving the community. Several members of the Gresham Police Department and Gresham Fire and Emergency Services attended the ceremony.

Other groups who made the annual event possible included sponsor Gresham Ford, the city of Gresham, Multnomah County, the state of Oregon, Gresham Elks Lodge 1805, Gresham Lions Supper Club, American Legion Post 30, Disabled American Veterans Chapter 1, Military Order of the Purple Heart Chapter 72, Pack 664 Cub Scouts of America and Troop 664 Boy Scouts of America.

"There is no freedom without bravery," Lowe said. "Our nation is lucky to have generations who have people that decided our country is worth fighting for — and dying for."

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