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Saluting LO's veterans

Gala event at the Adult Community Center is a day of appreciation, praise

Photo Credit: REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Lake Oswego VFW post commander Ken Kraft (front) stands at attention with other veterans during the singing of the national anthem.Lake Oswego paid tribute to veterans and active-duty members of the military Tuesday with a gala Veterans Day celebration at the Lake Oswego Adult Community Center.

Many of the veterans at the event, who had fought in conflicts ranging from World War II to Afghanistan, wore the uniforms of their past service, including one Navy veteran whose cap sat at a jaunty angle.

Col. Daniel Kern, the ebullient master of ceremonies, made sure everyone received a rousing welcome and that the event proceeded at a lively pace.

“This is the inaugural Veterans Day event here,” Kern said. “It’s a big deal when people come out. It’s going to be bigger next year.”Photo Credit: REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - SFC David Richardson of the Oregon National Guard presents Lake Oswego VFW post commander Ken Kraft with a cased American flag.

It was an afternoon for ceremony, music and recognition for the sacrifices made by the men and women who have served — and who continue to serve — in America’s armed forces. Three Gold Star wives of fallen warriors were recognized, and retired Capt. Ken Kraft, one of the afternoon’s special guest speakers, was given a cased American Flag by the 82nd Brigade of the Oregon National Guard.

Dawn Kolb of the City of Lake Oswego, who organized the event, was given the Commander’s Coin in appreciation for her work.

The celebration included a display of historic military vehicles, a Civil War re-enactment and a presentation by the local Patriot Guard flag line. Trees throughout downtown Lake Oswego bore yellow ribbons to mark the special day.Photo Credit: REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - U.S. Air Force veteran Charles Spencer claps along with the playing of the Armed Forces Anthem Medley.

Most of the event was dedicated to speeches by Kraft, who is the commander of the new Lake Oswego VFW post, and U.S. Navy Cmdr. Jonathan C. Puskas. Both men praised the veterans who took part in America’s glorious past, but they also gave warnings about America’s future and the need for younger generations to step up to the challenge.

Kern emphasized the importance of American veterans continuing to serve even after they leave active duty and return to the U.S. He noted his own VFW post’s outstanding work in raising money to help homeless veterans.

“My mind and soul will not stop,” Kern said. “I have an obligation to the young men and women who didn’t come home.”

Puskas asked older members of the audience to “vote, volunteer and share,” and he urged younger generations to “study, stay in shape and don’t get in trouble.”Photo Credit: REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Hank Elsworth (front) and Jim Kruchoski of the Patriot Guard Riders greet guests outside the Lake Oswego Adult Community Center.

Contact Cliff Newell at 503-636-1281 ext. 105 or cnewell@lakeoswegoreview.com.

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