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VFW Post 180 honors important day, those who served with flag presentation, speeches

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - The Gresham VFW Post 180 hosted a Veterans Day ceremony Friday, Nov. 11. On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, Gresham braved the cold to celebrate veterans and their families.

"This moment has special meaning for veterans — on this day we chose to lay down arms and seek a peaceful resolution to the war to end all wars," said David Lowe, Gresham VFW Post 180 commander.

"Duty, honor and country, that is what it means to be a veteran," he added.

The annual Gresham Veterans Day Ceremony was hosted Friday, Nov. 11, at the Gresham Heroes Memorial, at the corner of Powell Boulevard and Roberts Avenue. The theme was "Lest We Forget," and many of the speeches focused on remembering loved ones who served. All of it was helmed by the Gresham Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 180, with support from the Gresham VFW Auxiliary.

"On this cold day, I hope it warms your heart to hear all we are doing for veterans," said Vallorie Herndon, auxiliary president.

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - Local vets and their loved ones visited the Gresham Heroes Memorial for a day of celebration and remembrance. In Gresham there are about 6,000 veterans, as well as many who had loved ones serve. They are CEOs and ditch diggers, police officers and firefighters, and nurses.

"Anyone can be a veteran, you just have to be willing to serve a cause greater than yourself," Lowe said.

Boy Scout Troop 664 and Cub Scout Pack 664 presented the colors — a daunting task as they held the flags sturdy against buffeting wind. Both Councilor Janine Gladfelter and Mayor Travis Stovall also spoke.

"I think sometimes we get caught up in everything going on in our own lives, and we forget the men and women who served and put their lives on the line so we could all be here," Gladfelter said.

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - Scouts from Troop 664 and Pack 664 presented the colors and helped host a Veterans Day event in Gresham.   Stovall is the son, brother and nephew of veterans.

"They make this day very special, a way to honor those who gave it all," he said.

The mayor read a proclamation commemorating Veterans Day in the city of Gresham. A deal also was struck between the city and VFW. Local veterans want to bring back the annual Veterans Day Parade, which used to run along Main Avenue with much fanfare, but has long been dormant. Lowe and Stovall shook hands at the podium, declaring a commitment to bringing back the parade.

Wreaths Across America

The Gresham VFW Post 180 Auxiliary is helming efforts to honor veterans at Willamette National Cemetery this winter.

As part of the national Wreaths Across America program, people can sponsor the placement of a wreath at a veteran's grave. Those wreaths, which include brilliant red bows, can be laid at specific gravesites or placed generally at the cemetery.

Anyone who purchases a wreath is welcome to join the ceremony on Saturday, Dec. 17. Otherwise a volunteer will place the wreath, say the veteran's name, thank them for their service, and salute.

Wreaths are $15, and any purchased support the auxiliary's programs to bolster veterans and their families in East Multnomah County. Learn more or purchase a wreath online at

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