Sandy VFW recognizes Memorial Day with in-person event
On March 11, the United States recognized the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic and remembered the 527,726 Americans who had died from the coronavirus up to that point. On Memorial Day, Americans commemorate those more than 1.1 million soldiers who have died in U.S. wars since the Civil War.
In Sandy, officers of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 4273, hosted their annual Memorial Day Ceremony at Fir Hill Cemetery on Monday, May 31. Last year, the group canceled the event because of concerns amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, but this year, with more than 60% of the state vaccinated, the ceremony was reinstated.
"The past year has been challenging and our way of life was changed in different and chaotic ways," said guest speaker Dennis Pratt, senior vice commander for the Oregon Department of the VFW. "It would be so easy to postpone this ceremony, to delay our responsibility to American service members to next year, make the excuse that we are tired from the pandemic, or just take a break. But the men and women of America's armed forces who have sacrificed and given everything they have, including the freedoms we enjoy, deserve more than an excuse.
"I'm glad to be here in Sandy and here with the VFW. We don't make excuses and certainly not on this most sacred of days. Today, we push through the fatigue and pandemic exhaustion to come together and pay our respects for those lost on the frontlines of battle."
Pratt added that Memorial Day is a day to honor fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles and friends who died in the line of duty and "remember their names, their faces and their service legacies, so that their sacrifices are never forgotten."
During the ceremony, VFW officers ceremoniously placed a wreath and flowers on the headstone of local veteran Alan Gunderson, who died in 2012.
Service members in attendance were recognized, and Sandy VFW Commander Bert Key spearheaded the event. After a prayer by the VFW chaplain, April Lindstedt, 13-year-old bugler Madison Key, played taps while attendees observed a moment of silence.
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