Highway 26 officially dubbed POW-MIA Memorial Highway
Highway 26 has now been named the POW-MIA Memorial Highway. This designation was celebrated in cities across the state, including Boring, on National POW-MIA Recognition Day, Sept. 18, and came as a result of the efforts of Lt. Colonel Dick Tobiason (Ret.) and his nonprofit, The Bend Heroes Foundation.
The legislation required to make this naming official was signed into law in September 2019, and since then the Bend Heroes Foundation has raised over $20,000 to cover the cost of 10 signs noting it, which are now standing on Highway 26 at five different locations. These locations include mile marker 12 close to Seaside, the Boring junction, between Madras and Prineville and in proximity of the cities of John Day and Vale. Each location has two signs, one sign facing east and the other facing west.
The Boring ceremony was hosted at Jaycee Newman Nursery and organized by the Vietnam Veterans of America Oregon State Council and its Portland Chapter No. 392. The Sandy Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 4273 and its auxiliary assisted.
Clackamas County Commissioners Paul Savas and Sonya Fischer were in attendance along with representatives from the American Legion Department of Oregon, Veterans of Foreign Wars Department of Oregon and its auxiliary, Vietnam Veterans of America and the National League of POW-MIA Families.
Steve Bates of the Boring Committee on Memorials and Remembrance served as the master of ceremonies of the event.
"Oregon is the first state to have a POW-MIA Memorial Highway from border to border," Bates said in a statement. "There are efforts to have other states participate with the ultimate goal of making U.S. Route 26 the POW-MIA Memorial Highway from Seaside to Nebraska."
Dick Lovegren, the Oregon coordinator for the National League of POW-MIA Families, gave a presentation at the ceremony. Lovegren's brother is still missing in Vietnam.
It was noted that 86,500 Americans are still missing. Of that number 999 are from Oregon: 21 from World War I, 886 from World War II, 56 from the Korean War, two from the Cold War and 34 from the Vietnam War.
"May these signs cause honor and remembrance of the missing and their families and may these signs cause a greater knowledge and remembrance of the missing," Bates added.
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