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Portland Memorial Day Ceremony Honors Those Who Died Serving Their Country

OPB | May 26, 2014 1:32 p.m. | Updated: May 26, 2014 2:44 p.m.

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Members of the Civil Air Patrol escort Judi Van Cleave, National Vice President of the Gold Star Wives of America, during the Memorial Day ceremony.

Members of the Civil Air Patrol escort Judi Van Cleave, National Vice President of the Gold Star Wives of America, during the Memorial Day ceremony.

Cassandra Profita / OPB

Hundreds gathered at Willamette National Cemetery in Portland Monday to honor military men and women who died while serving their country. Cannons fired in a salute at the Memorial Day ceremony,  and a large American flag waved above the crowd at half mast.

Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs Director Cameron Smith spoke about the importance of this day to honor those who have given their lives while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs Director Cameron Smith

Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs Director Cameron Smith

Cassandra Profita


“Memorial Day represents the start of summer with ball games and barbecues,” Smith said. “But we must always remember that Memorial Day is also a solemn occasion for us to pause and honor the memory of our fallen friends, family and heroes.”

Smith recalled his three deployments with the U.S. Marines in Iraq.

He says as he remembers fallen soldiers,  he’s also aware that thousands are still deployed in Afghanistan. The work for veterans of that war, he says, is just beginning.

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