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Tributes to fallen heroes scheduled for weekend

OUTLOOK FILE PHOTO - Annually, scouts with the Thunderbird District in the Cascade Pacific Council of the Boy Scouts of America plant flags on the graves of all veterans buried at Willamette National Cemetery in Portland.

The holiday known as Memorial Day was actually conceived three years after the end of the Civil War.

In 1868, the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of Union veterans, established Decoration Day as a national day to place flowers on the graves of those who died in battle. Confederate groups acknowledged their war heroes in a similar way but founded their traditions on a different day.

By the 20th century, the two sides merged their observances to recognize all Americans who had died while in military service. Memorial Day became an official federal holiday celebrated on the last Monday in May in 1971.

While the Memorial Day weekend traditionally symbolizes the arrival of summer, several organizations and groups are holding observances to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

— 1:30 p.m. Friday, May 27, Good Shepherd Community Church, 28986 S.E. Haley Road, Boring. Join local dignitaries and community members for dedication of two Fallen Hero Memorial Highway signs honoring Jim and George Wright, brothers killed in Vietnam.

— 11 a.m. Sunday, May 29, Pleasant Valley Community Baptist Church, 17608 S.E. Foster Road, Gresham. Special service and candle lighting ceremony to honor deceased loved ones.

— 9-10 a.m. Monday, May 30, Forest Lawn Cemetery, 400 S.W. Walters Road, Gresham. Annual observance will include Gresham resident and professional opera singer Nikoli Strommer singing the National Anthem, TAPS played by Travis Slocolm of Centennial High School, a fly-over by the United States Air Force, the First Call Motorcycle Escorts and members of the VFW and retired military. Hot dogs and refreshments will be served at 11:30 a.m. All are welcome.

— 11 a.m. Monday, May 30, Gresham Heroes Memorial, 219 S. Main Ave. Members of the VFW Post No. 180, Disabled American Veterans and local civic leaders will honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

— 10 a.m. Monday, May 30, Willamette National Cemetery, 11800 S.E. Mt. Scott Blvd., Portland. Service honors all members of the armed services. Graves of all military personnel buried in the cemetery are decorated with American flags, planted annually by scouts in the Thunderbird District of the Boy Scouts of America Cascade Council.