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Locals contribute to new Oregon WWII memorial

The Prineville Elks and Band of Brothers have already donated $1,000 to the effort


by: JASON CHANEY - Oregon World War II Memorial Foundation Board member Jerry Lorang met with local students to discuss the memorial.

Oregon remains one of six states in the nation that has not erected a state World War II memorial.

That is about to soon change, and local veterans and Elks Club members have helped bolster the effort.

“They have a space right next to the capitol,” said Mary Williams, vice president for the Oregon State Elks Association’s southeast district. “There is a lawn, a park right next door to the capitol, and we have a corner that has already been designated for the memorial.”

So far this year, the Elks and local veterans from Band of Brothers have raised about $1,000 to contribute to the memorial. The Elks raised money selling World War II pins for $10 apiece and the Band of Brothers collected monetary donations for the cause.

“Most of our World War II veterans are either dead or disabled now,” said Bob Brumagin, a Prineville Band of Brothers member and chaplain for the Prineville Elks. “The monument being in Salem will give the few of them who are still alive the opportunity to go see something to show some appreciation for what they have done.”

The state memorial will be 33 feet tall, in honor of Oregon being the 33rd state, and five-sided in honor of each branch of military service during World War II, with a 75-foot-by-75-foot base.

“At the base of the obelisk, they have etched in the world and shows where all of the wars have been throughout the world,” Williams said.

To honor donors throughout the state, members of the Oregon World War II Memorial Foundation Board took the memorial obelisk on tour for donors to view. One of the stops scheduled was the Prineville Elks Lodge.

“The Elks have been terrific supporters of us,” said board member Jerry Lorang.

However, on Monday, when it was time for the obelisk to make its local appearance, cold weather postponed the trip.

“They didn’t want to move it too much,” Williams explained. “If someone knocks into it, it is going to break.”

Instead, Lorang brought a tabletop-size replica of the memorial and hosted an informational session at the Elks Lodge with two Crooked River Elementary School fifth grade classes.

“It was just a blast to talk with them and find out from them how much they know or how much more they would like to know,” he said.

The obelisk has since been returned to Salem, where it will soon prise part of the permanent World War II monument. The memorial is scheduled to be dedicated on the capitol grounds on June 6.



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