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Beaverton Memorial Day Ceremony brings in large crowd to honor those who paid the ultimate price for freedom.

PHOTO BY LARRY LEE SAWYER - Sons of the American Revolution participated in the Beaverton Memorial Day event. Batons and planes were flying as Beaverton's Memorial Day remembrance at Veterans Memorial Park event saw a larger than usual crowd of more than 1,500 people.

Matthew Carter of Beaverton, a veteran of Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom, attended with his service dog Charlie, who helps him to navigate through his anxiety that is a result of his time in service.

Strolling through the crowds dressed in Revolutionary War regalia, was Bill Murray, a member of the Sons of the American Revolution.

Patti Waitman-Ingebretsen, 75, of Portland, spun her baton to the music of the American Legion Post No. 185 Band. She said she's been twirling a baton for about 65 years.

"It's in my blood forever. I saw it in a parade (baton) when I was 4 years old and I couldn't stop thinking and talking about it," Waitman-Ingebretsen said. "I never have to grow up." She has participated in the Starlight Parade 33 times and the Grand Floral Parade 31 times and does about 40 gigs a year as a member of the "One More Time" and "The Beat Goes On" marching bands.

Former Honor Guard member, also a veteran from the 103rd Infantry, Frank Passmore, 90, of King City took a front row seat to watch as Beaverton Mayor Denny Doyle read the Memorial Day Proclamation, Guest Chaplain Wally Johnson perform the Memorial Wreath Placement, Beaverton Post No. 124 Adjutant Fred Meyer accompanied by Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue bagpiper Tim Birr perform the somber POW/MIA service, and listen as guest speakers shared what Memorial Day means to them.

Doyle was thrilled with the attendance on Monday and said, "All branches of service are represented." He added, "We have to remember how good we have it because of all they have done."

The planes could be heard, but not seen because of dense cloud cover for the first few attempts of the "Missing Man Flyover" performed by the West Coast Ravens with their RV-8 Special Aircraft. However, at the close of the event all the planes were visible.

Military veteran and Beaverton City Council Member Lacy Beaty told the crowd it was "truly astonishing" how many people showed up and said it was the biggest crowd they have had for the event.

Beaty also honored veteran Ricky John Best, who was slain on Friday during the Portland attack on the MAX train. She said he carried his philosophies and beliefs into his civilian life and paid for his heroic act with his life. "Freedom isn't free," she said.

Lou Neubecker, Commander District 1 from the Department of Oregon American Legion, reminded people that Memorial Day is not a holiday to be celebrated. "Do not wish me a happy Memorial Day. There is a quiet stillness of this hollow day." he said. He explained that people gave their lives for the "greatest gift on Earth, freedom. We are honoring the legacy of our nations fallen and we honor the dead by helping the living."

Beaverton Police Chief and United States Marine Corps veteran, Jim Monger shared a memory from 1980 when American citizens were held hostage.

"We (the Marines in training) saw the Christmas tree was still standing and decorated and it was September," he said. Monger said he and his fellow Marines were told that the tree would remain standing, decorated and lit until all the hostages came home. "It was a valuable lesson and a lesson of purpose," he added. He urged people to share the park throughout the year, visit the names on display and never forget.

Karin Bishop of Aloha donned an American Flag blouse. She shed a few tears during the ceremony. She said she always does.

"I have had a lot of family in the service," Bishop said. "My son is in the Navy. I have been coming to this park (Veterans) since its birth. I have bricks on the wall. I come here for all the services."

Bishop woke up early on Monday to place flowers at veteran's graves in the area before she headed over to the park, where she also placed flowers on the bricks with veteran's names.

Keynote Speaker Oregon National Guard CSM Robert Foesch urged the crowd to "never abandon the cause of liberty." He said "We need to remember those deployed today and dedicate ourselves to never forget the sacrifices" made by those who serve.

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