Small crowd of local residents gather to celebrate lives of departed veterans
by: Jim Hart, Memorial Day isn't just for veterans; it's to remember all the departed. At graveside in Fir Hill Cemetery, Mathias Engblom of Sandy talks to his 3-year-old daughter, Lilian, about the life of Jeffrey Flood, uncle to Engblom's wife, Candi Jo Barbre.

Even before the Memorial Day ceremonies began at Fir Hill Cemetery in Sandy, everyone knew the day would be special.

Unexpectedly, two F-18 fighter jets flew over the cemetery twice - on their way to a scheduled fly-over in Estacada and once again on their way back to their Portland base.

Even though it happened a few minutes before the Sandy ceremonies began, attendees accepted it as a sign of respect and remembrance.

Also special was the Pledge of Allegiance, recited from memory by 3-year-old Lilian Engblom of Sandy.

Speaking before the group were Post Commander Terry Boyer and Senior Vice Commander Merle Stewart, who called Monday a 'proud day of remembrance.'

Stewart described sacred and hallowed ground in Washington, D.C.; Hawaii; Normandy, France; and the Philippines as testament to the price of 'achieving and maintaining freedom around the globe.'

He also reminded those present to set an example and teach our youths about the cost of freedom.

'As American citizens,' he said, 'we must not only remember the fallen, but it is our duty to teach our youths that nothing comes without a price - that sacrifices are meaningless without remembrance.'

After several floral dedications to fallen comrades, the familiar bugle sounds of 'Taps' filtered through the evergreen trees at Fir Hill - a fitting tribute to all veterans of wars beyond our borders.

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