Let Freedom Ring - a parade and a dedication
- Bill Sheehy
- Central Oregonian - News
They came in long lines, some marching and others riding motorcycles - nearly all carrying American flags. Saturday's parade down Third Street from one end of town to the World War II/MIA Memorial in Ochoco Creek Park was solemn and emotional. The parade was the precursor of the dedication ceremonies of the POW/MIA Circle of Honor Monument.
>Saturday's parade through town, leading the way to Ochoco Creek Park for the dedication of the POW/MIA Circle of Honor Monument brought out a large crowd of people, some saluting as the American flag went by, others wiping away tears of emotion
Following behind the NJROTC honor guard, which included representatives of various military units, each displaying their identifying flag, were members of the Oregon Veterans Motorcycle Association. They had come to honor the POW/MIA's from all wars.
Floats depicting the Let Freedom Ring theme followed, along with cub scout troops. Shiny vintage and classic cars came next, each one carrying a former prisoner of war to the memorial.
Third Street was lined with citizens, many saluting as the flags went by, most choked with emotion; the memory of Sept. 11 is still strong.
At Ochoco Creek Park, the park packed with flag waving people, the official dedication ceremonies were held. A moment of silence and a prayer for those who were lost in New York and at the Pentagon was followed by speeches from dignitaries commemorating the Circle of Honor. Through it all, the Honor Guard stood at attention.
"We dedicate this monument to the people of this city, this state, this nation," Veteran's Service Officer Sid Carter's voice rang out.
County Judge Scott Cooper concluded his remarks with the words that all those attending were feeling; "God bless us all. God bless America."