Crowds gather in Beaverton, Tualatin for Memorial Day
From the point of view of the twin F-15 Eagle fighter jets, Beaverton's Veterans Memorial Park flashed beneath their cantilevered wings and, seconds later, so did Tualatin Community Park.
The flyover wasn't the only thing the cities had in common on Memorial Day. Both featured red, white and blue festivities, solemn remembrances and grateful crowds.
In Beaverton, hundreds filled the park to honor those who have served, those who are missing and those who died. Speakers and guests included Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici, State Treasurer Tobias Read and Beaverton Mayor Denny Doyle.
The flyover of the jets from the 173rd Fighter Wing out of Kingsley Field in Klamath Falls was so perfectly timed that they bisected the singing of the National Anthem. As the roar of the twin Pratt & Whitney engines faded, the voice of the singer finished with, "...and the home of the brave."
While the American Legion Post 124 band played Sousa, senior citizens Patti Waitman-Ingebretsen and Marcy Tuffli showed off their baton skills. "I started doing this when I was 5," said Waitman-Ingebretsen, whose calendar will be kept busy by Portland's Rose Festival. "This year'll be my 34th Starlight Parade and my 32nd Grand Floral."
Beaverton City Councilor Lacey Beaty spoke at the event. Her husband still serves in the Oregon Guard and Beaty herself served five years active duty in the Army as a radiology specialist and six years as a combat medic. She served in the 1st Infantry Division during the Iraq War.
One of the Memorial Day traditions is the setting of a table to honor those missing in action. The symbolism includes a table set for one; a white table cloth for purity; a red rose to symbolize blood shed; a slice of lemon on a plate for a bitter fate; a sprinkling of salt for families' tears; and a candle, in hopes of a loved one's return.
The second flyover of the day included five aircraft of the West Coast Ravens, flying in the Missing Man Formation.
In Tualatin, the day included a gathering at Winona Cemetary, both flyovers and a free barbecue picnic, coordinated by Tualatin VFW Auxiliary 3452, at Tualatin Community Park.
Among those in attendance was Cheryl Hoskins of Lake Oswego, who served in the U.S. Navy from 1984 to 2004, including in hostile situations.
"This day is basically remembering those who have come before me, who served, and those who came after me," she said. "It's a chance to remember our fallen heroes .... It's for everyone who has lost someone in their lives."
One of the speakers for the day was Tualatin Mayor Lou Ogden, whose final term in office ends this year.
"Today's a special day," Ogden said. "For all the reasons we just spoke about, the importance of two things: Really taking the time to remember the importance of why we're here and ... and most important thing, that we pass this legacy on to our kids. Hopefully, they'll never have to experience any of these wars."
Plenty of first responders, including police and firefighters, were on hand at both events. And to show that the concept of service is alive and well, the Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue E67 paramedic engine, got called away from the Beaverton event during the chaplain's prayer to respond to an apartment fire.