Lake Oswego prepares for day of remembrance
Across the United States, millions of families have sacrificed the lives of their loved ones — men and women, young and old — to protect the civil liberties, freedoms and safety that Americans enjoy.
While a single day is never enough to say "thank you" for that sacrifice, Memorial Day does offer an opportunity every year to come together as a community, reflect on the loss of valiant citizens and recognize that freedom comes with a cost.
That's certainly true in Lake Oswego, where the Lake Oswego Veterans Memorial will partner with the City and other organizations on Monday, May 28, to pay tribute to fallen soldiers and first responders.
From 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m., Foothills Park (199 Foothills Road in Lake Oswego) will be filled with interesting exhibits, patriotic music and more. An Army Hummer, the PT-658 patrol torpedo boat and a Boeing "Insitu ScanEagle" drone will all be on hand for people to see and learn about. Tours of the PT boat will be offered for a small donation, and rides to downtown Portland will be available for $150 per person.
Lake Oswego police officers and firefighters will also bring equipment to the park to help educate the public about the role they play in protecting the community. Musical entertainment will begin at 10:30 a.m., provided by the Kopy Catz, with Rod Shearer appearing as an Elvis tribute artist.
The official program will begin at 11:30 a.m., emceed by U.S. Navy Capt. Jonathan Pukas. It will feature an invocation by Pastor Keith Dickerson, a keynote speech from Gen. Merrill "Tony" McPeak and remarks from Assistant Fire Chief David Morris. Following the program, the Patriot Guard Riders of Oregon will make an appearance before the U.S. flag is retired.
"This celebration shows there is community love, support and caring for those who have served, as well as for their families, and that is huge," says Karen Bowerman, a former Lake Oswego city councilor and current Veterans Memorial organizer. "We want those families, veterans and first responders to realize that the care (they show for this country) is mutual, and that we appreciate their service."
As part of the program, representatives of the Veterans Memorial will unveil Phase One — including never-before-seen design concepts — for a project that they hope will break ground later this year.
"What we want to create is a place that would provide tranquility; a place for reflection for the veterans themselves or their families," Bowerman says. "Secondly, we want it to be a place for community events like the Memorial Day celebration that is taking place this year."
Bowerman and the rest of the Veterans Memorial group are hopeful that once Lake Oswegans see the plans, they'll donate the remaining funds needed to complete the memorial by Veterans Day 2018.
Revisions to the design concept have reduced cost estimates for the memorial from $500,000 to just under $100,000; the group has already raised about $50,000, Bowerman says.
In the meantime, organizers say this year's Memorial Day event wouldn't be possible without the help of Parks & Recreation Director Ivan Anderholm, LOFD Assistant Fire Chief David Morris and City Councilor John LaMotte, as well as organizers Gerry Good, Dotty Holm, Thomas Gregoire, Sally Hill and John Stupeck.
For more information about the Lake Oswego Veterans Memorial or Memorial Day events, visit loveteransmemorial.org.
IF YOU GO
What: Memorial Day remembrance hosted by the Lake Oswego Veterans Memorial
When: Monday, May 28
Where: Foothills Park (199 Foothills Road, Lake Oswego)
Note: Exhibits and music begin at 10:30 a.m.; program starts at 11:30 a.m.
Details: Visit www.loveteransmemorial.org