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Veterans, community members come together to reinstate remembrance event at Fir Hill Cemetery.

PMG PHOTO: BRITTANY ALLEN - Sandy VFW Post No. 4273 Commander Bert Key addresses a small crowd at Fir Hill Cemetery in Sandy during the post's annual Memorial Day Ceremony. 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. PMG PHOTO: BRITTANY ALLEN - Allen Anderson, Bert Key and Dennis Pratt socialize before the Memorial Day Ceremony at Fir Hill Cemetery begins on Monday, May 31.

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.

PMG PHOTO: BRITTANY ALLEN - Dennis Pratt, senior vice commander of the Oregon department of the VFW, acted as guest speaker for the Sandy Memorial Day event at Fir Hill Cemetery on May 31. "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. PMG PHOTO: BRITTANY ALLEN - Several servicepeople, members of the VFW and non-members, attended the Memorial Day Ceremony at Fir Hill Cemetery in Sandy on Monday, May 31.

"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."

PMG PHOTO: BRITTANY ALLEN - Many graves at Fir Hill Cemetery in Sandy received fresh flowers and decoration for Memorial Day, and some were tended to with a wash and scrub by loved ones.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.

PMG PHOTO: BRITTANY ALLEN - Sandy VFW officers, including Senior Vice Commander Terry Lenchitsky, decorated late Sandy serviceman Alan Gundersons grave in remembrance during the Sandy Memorial Day Ceremony at Fir Hill Cemetery on May 31. 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.PMG PHOTO: BRITTANY ALLEN - Sandy VFW chaplain April Lindstedt offers a prayer during the Sandy Memorial Day event at Fir Hill Cemetery on May 31.PMG PHOTO: BRITTANY ALLEN - Two men give a headstone at Fir Hill Cemetery a good scrub in honor of Memorial Day.


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