It was a special Memorial Day in Lake Oswego as the City cut the ribbon on a new memorial at Foothills Park

Dedication Ceremony for Lake Oswego Veterans Memorial

The long-awaited dedication of the Lake Oswego Veterans & First Responders Memorial took place in Foothills Park Monday, celebrating the hard work it took for a group of local veterans to bring this monument to fruition while also recognizing those who paid the ultimate sacrifice and those who served and are no longer with us.

The event hosted by U.S. Navy Captain Jonathan Puskas, featured remarks from veterans activist and author Taya Kyle, U.S. Rep. Kurt Schrader and Fire Chief Don Johnson, as well an invocation from Father John Marshall of Our Lady of the Lake church.

The colors were presented by the Lake Oswego honor guard led by Assistant Fire Chief David Morris and Police Lieutenant Darryl Wrisley.

Kyle — also daughter of Mayor Kent Studebaker — took the opportunity to talk about the American spirit: the compassion in all of us to help our fellow countrymen and be there for them even if they have differing views than our own.

See also:

Gone but not forgotten (read story)

Q&A with Taya Kyle (read story)

"We have to recognize that pioneering spirit is still alive today. There's so many people today doing those kinds of things, pioneering spirits, showing up for people in a way that is so unique," Kyle told the audience. "You came today on Memorial Day to show up and recognize those who serve and what service is. And I hope you go out and enjoy your freedoms and not make it a melancholy day. Take your moment to recognize it, and then go out and celebrate the freedom you have. Have a great time, hug your neighbors, look at people less about politics and more about their heart."

Puskas took a moment to point out the table set for one at the front of the podium at Monday's event, representing those who are Prisoners of War or Missing in Action.

"This table is our way of symbolizing the fact that members of our profession of arms are missing from our midst. They're commonly called POWs or MIA — we call them brothers and sisters," Puskas said.

Puskas explained the significance of each of them items placed on the table and asked the crowd to honor their sacrifice — whether deceased or imprisoned — by remembering them.

"The chair empty, they are not here. Remember. All of you who served with them and call them comrades, who depended upon their might and aid and relied upon them, for surely they have not forsaken you. Remember," Puskas said.

The standing-room only crowd at the dedication ceremony had the opportunity to interact with veterans of all branches, police and firefighters.

The Patriot Guard Riders of Oregon were on hand to celebrate the event with a variety of motorcycles for kids and families to ogle, as well as several military vehicles including a ScanEagle drone.

The event Monday celebrated the three years of work, partnerships and fundraising it took to bring this memorial from a dream to reality. LO Veterans Memorial President Bob Hill andboard members John Hanan, Scott Thompson, Mike Holm and Karen Stewart were on hand to celebrate their efforts.

"It was very emotional for us that's for sure. It was a major accomplishment to get this done," Hill told The Review. "It was amazing (to see so many people). There were more standing than there were sitting. We're just thrilled we got all that support on Memorial Day. I want to thank all the past donors, and future donors, that we can continue this and get phase two going as soon as we can."

According to Hill, the second piece of the new memorial is a sanctuary garden that will be dedicated to Gold Star families, families of POWs, line of duty deaths for first responders, Medal of Honor and Purple Heart recipients.

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