EUGENE, Ore. — Flags line the rows at Pioneer Cemetery where many of Eugene’s oldest veterans are buried. Monday afternoon the cemetery was filled with people who gathered to pay tribute to fallen soldiers.
During the ceremony a middle school band performed music and the Eugene firefighters pipes and drums group performed as well.
Veterans also shared stories of what this day means to them and how they hope people will celebrate Memorial Day and Veterans Day in the future. “Remembering those that served with us, but even further continuing to preserve their legacy by telling their stories and by reminding people who may not have been there of their acts of heroism that they performed,” said Luke Salyer, Airborne infantry veteran.
He said while sharing some stories from his time in Iraq is painful, it’s really one of the only ways to keep the legacy of his fellow fallen soldiers alive.
Early Monday morning the American Legion in Springfield had a special flag raising ceremony. The group raised the flag to full staff and then lowered it to half staff in honor of fallen soldiers. This is the 65th time the American Legion hosted this service at the corner of Mohawk and Q Streets. Veterans including Springfield Mayor Christine Lundberg urged the crowd to not get caught up in the barbecues and summer festivities on memorial day, but to instead honor the fallen. “It’s becoming a big holiday and very few people are really realizing the significance of Memorial Day and Veterans Day,” said Frank Blair, Commander Springfield American Legion.
During that ceremony the group also honored prisoners of war and those missing in action.
At the Lane Memorial Gardens community members also gathered to honor fallen soldiers. It was standing room only during the ceremony. Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and a high school choir all spent the afternoon giving a helping hand at the service. A volunteer infantry also performed a musket salute. During the ceremony a choir sang each military song to recognize all the men and women in the room who served overseas.
“It means quite a bit coming from of course my family and all my family is prior Navy and also the National Guard, they’ve all served,” said Dan Clayton, Auxillary member Floatilla Command.
Many of the headstones in the cemetery were also lined with flags as families visited the grave sites of their loved ones who served in the armed forces.