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Memorial Day ceremonies highlight of weekend

Led by the NJROTC color guard, the Memorial Day Parade made its way to the Desert Storm Memorial in Ochoco Creek Park for ceremonies.
With great fanfare and color guards standing at attention while a NJROTC bugler played taps, Wayne Eldridge, representing all the various veterans organizations, and Dustin Palmer, representing the Crook County High School NJROTC, flipped the switch reigniting the Eternal Flame.
   The flame, which had been extinguished for so long, has been redesigned and the base refurbished. The new flame design was put together by Stephens Heating and Cooling and is surrounded by a wrought iron fence, locally manufactured by Rodney Grant.
   The plaque that was on the old torch honoring the 50th anniversary of the American Legion was transferred to the new torch. Additionally, the pillar which holds the torch was remortared and missing stones replaced. The entire project was completed under the supervision of county maintenance supervisor Greg Hinshaw.
   The flame itself burns 1/8 of the gas of the previous torch and has an automatic reigniter to avoid wind. In preparation for Memorial Day ceremonies, the garden club planted the front flower beds with a variety of bedding plants and planted the pots on the front steps as well and the NJROTC and veterans organizations donated and hung the new American and POW/MIA flags now flying in front of the courthouse.
   Crook County Judge Scott Cooper and VFW Post Commander Gilbert Sharp ceremoniously dedicated the official Eisenhower Green Ash Tree, honoring all World War II veterans as part of "Operation Silent Witness."
   The tree has been designated the official tree of WWII memorials nationwide. Official trees are authentic direct offspring of a green ash tree that grows at the birthplace of Eisenhower in Denison, Texas.
   "These living memorials will stand in our cities and towns as humble reminders of the 16 million soldiers in uniform and the millions more who supported them from home during World War II," Sharp said during the dedication, "all of whom contributed to freedom as we enjoy it today."