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Memorial Day celebrated countywide

Local events include cemetery services, boat races, wine tasting


Since its establishment in 1868, Memorial Day — originally known as Decoration Day — has been a day to commemorate those who died in service of their country. In Newberg and Yamhill County, that tradition lives on with numerous celebrations taking place the entire weekend, and perhaps most importantly, on Memorial Day itself.

Every year the Veterans of Foreign Wars pairs with the American Legion for ceremonies at six area cemeteries and ending with a service at Memorial Park.by: GARY ALLEN - Paying tribute - Members of the Veterans of Foreign War, American Legion and other groups will gather May 26 at Memorial Park for Newberg's annual services to honor the dead.

VFW Commander Wayne Miller said the first service starts at 8:15 a.m. May 26 at Valley View Cemetery. There, and at each location, a particular veteran will be honored.

“We honor all of them, but pick one and we put a VFW flag, the American Legion puts roses, we have a 21-gun salute, pack up and go (on to the next one),” Miller said. It’s a tight schedule, but he said after all these years they are pretty good at it.

After visiting the local cemeteries, the 11 a.m. service begins. Among the highlights include the invocation by Chaplain Rex Smith, the national anthem by Jim Cropper — who will also perform a second piece later on — a reading of both “Flanders Field” and its reprise. And, as occurs every year, retired NDPD Sgt. Tim Weaver will recite the Gettysburg Address.

“He pretty much knows that (by now), he doesn’t have to look at (notes), he just knows,” Miller said.

There will also be a roll call, where Newberg High School student Dylan Beam will play a drum roll after each name on the park’s granite obelisk is read by two police officers. A seven-member firing squad will then touch off their ceremonial M1 Garand rifles in a salute.

The guest speaker this year will be Major Rocco Falopico, retired from the United States Air Force.

Presenting something similar in some of the smaller Yamhill County towns are the United Veterans Honor Guard. They will visit four cemeteries, including one in Dayton, Amity, Yamhill and closing in McMinnville. Each tribute will last 15 minutes and include a recitation, three-round rifle volley and a bugle playing “Taps.”

Other weekend events include the annual boat races at Roger’s Landing, hosted by the Newberg Boat Club, and events at numerous wineries in the valley. Many wineries are offering limited vintages for tasting, or previews of new wines.

For more information about wine events, visit the Chehalem Chamber of Commerce. For more information about the Memorial Day service, visit the VFW post at 111 S. Howard St.

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