From Portland to Pendleton and from Lakeview to La Grande, Oregonians are paying tribute to the country’s military veterans.
Jordan Bradley, 10 raised his hand to forehead to salute a group of World War II veterans as they rounded the corner of Sandy Boulevard in Portland.
“His father is on his fourth tour in Iraq” said Bradley’s mother, Marianne Donaldson. “Regardless of politics today is the one day to all come together for the same cause,” Donaldson said.
The sun highlighted around one hundred American flags that lined Sandy Boulevard as 1,700 people marched to honor Veterans Day in the 39th annual Ross Hollywood Chapel Veterans Day Parade.
“This is the biggest parade we’ve had,” said Angela McKenzie-Tucker, general manager of the Ross Hollywood Chapel. There were 74 float entries and McKenzie-Tucker estimated that between 2,000 to 3,000 people came to watch the parade.
The parade ended in front of the Ross Hollywood Chapel where U.S. Congressman Earl Blumenauer, Secretary of State Kate Brown and Portland Mayor Charlie Hales spoke in-between ceremonies. The Ross Hollywood Chapel then served lunch to the first 200 people who attended Tony Starlight’s USO style show at the Hollywood Theater.
“It’s important to remember that what we have in America is a gift and that was given to us by our vets,” McKenzie-Tucker said.
At a similar parade in Bend, city streets were lined with onlookers, many waving American flags. Randy Johnson was among them. The 57-year-old Army Veteran came out see his daughter who was marching in the parade as part of the local high school cadet corps.
He says public events like this remind him of the pride he feels for his own service. But he says the day isn’t just for veterans.
“I think that Veterans Day is a day that anybody can appreciate. Especially living in America, where you have the right to do many things, that without the military you wouldn’t have the right to do,” says Johnson.
Many are showed their appreciation for veterans in other ways.
Some establishments like the Tillamook Air Museum and the Oregon Zoo offered free admission for veterans. And at recreation sites operated The US Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management, fees are were waived for all visitors in honor of the holiday.
Tess Freeman also contributed to this report.