SALEM – From the home front to the frontlines, an entire generation of Oregonians endured and fought for a nation’s way of life. On June 6th, the 68th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy, France, a grateful state will finally honor America’s “Greatest Generation” with a groundbreaking ceremony, marking the start of efforts to build Oregon’s World War II Memorial.
The public ceremony will take place at 1:30 p.m. on the grounds of Oregon’s State Capitol near the corner of Court and Cottage streets. All veterans are encouraged to attend. For easier access, a passenger drop-off area will be provided on Cottage St.
Scheduled guest speakers at the ceremony include Sec. of State Kate Brown, Director of the Oregon Dept. of Veterans’ Affairs Jim Willis, and World War II veteran and former state legislator Bill Markham from Riddle.
Once completed, the memorial will commemorate and honor the service of more than 152,000 Oregon men and women of the armed forces, the support of countless civilians on the home front, and the ultimate sacrifice of 3,760 Oregonians who gave their lives during the war. Oregon civilian contributions to the war will also be depicted throughout the memorial.
Located in Wilson Park, west of the Capitol, the planned memorial will feature what is believed to be the only a five-sided granite obelisk, which will stand 33-feet high. Granite quarried in the United States will be used to construct the memorial in 75-by-75 feet of space and include a wall engraved with the names of Oregon’s WWII service members who were killed in action.
“Oregon is one of the only states without a proper World War II memorial,” said Markham, who also serves on the foundation’s honorary board. “It took us all – an entire generation – to win that war. It is time that we honor that commitment.”
In 2011, the Oregon Legislature authorized an official Oregon World War II Memorial to be built on the capitol grounds. The Oregon World War II Memorial Foundation is the non-profit organization charged with raising private funds to build the memorial as well as unify Oregon communities to honor their veterans from that era, and the generation of people who supported the war effort on the home front. The foundation’s fundraising goal is $1.6 million.
News Release from: Oregon Dept. of Veterans’ Affairs