EUGENE, Ore. -- Since 1930 the Eugene Pioneer Cemetery has hosted their annual Memorial Day Ceremony where hundreds gather to honor the fallen heroes who sacrificed their lives for the freedoms we enjoy today.
This year, that ceremony was canceled due to COVID-19. However, that did not stop the community from paying their respects.
Quentin Holmes, the cemetery's president, said that the gathering has always welcomed school children, Boy Scouts, veterans, the Eugene Fire Bagpipe Band and community members who wish to commemorate the day.
“Lane County and our nation is what it is because of the people who gave sacrifices in wars and as pioneers coming out here,” Holmes said. “They chose this as their final resting place, and we come here to honor them and what they have -- legacy that they have left up to us.”
Around 300 flags were put out on veterans’ lots and graves.
Others in the county stopped by the Wall of Honor Memorial at Skinner Butte Park, where over 400 names of Lane County veterans killed in World War I through Operation Desert Storm can be found.
Many placed flowers and stood in reflection and honor.
“We definitely wanted to come by the park and stop by the memorial,” said Eugene resident Steve Davey. “That’s always a nice thing with tons of flowers around it -- the tulips. It’s really beautiful. Although I wasn't in any of the wars, I had friends that went to Vietnam, and some never came back.”
Eugene resident Chris Leland has also lost friends who served in the Vietnam War and said that this day is very important to him and his family.
“My wife and I -- three of her four children went into the Army in the 90s,” Leland said. “I was already patriotic before then, and I really support this. I think it’s a wonderful day to come out, and we celebrate it -- the people who gave their lives to keep this country free.”
Other local cemeteries hosted online Memorial Day ceremonies.