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Eugene Masonic Cemetery, NAACP observe Memorial Day

“People have sacrificed. People have died for America to be where we are today."

Posted: May 31, 2021 6:17 PM
Updated: May 31, 2021 7:03 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- Community members in Eugene observed Memorial Day in a variety of ways this year.

RELATED: CANNON REPAIRED AND RETURNED TO THE VETERANS' MEMORIAL PLAZA

One way people chose to remember those who served and sacrificed their lives for this country was in the Public Square at the Eugene Masonic Cemetery, where taps could be heard throughout.

Flags flew over the 110 veterans’ graves. Plus, 43 new walking signs were added to tell readers about each person buried at that spot.

Inside the Hope Abbey Mausoleum, which is an Egyptian Revival Mausoleum built in 1914, people had the chance to experience pieces of history and kids even took part in a scavenger hunt.

Caroline Forell is the president of the Board of Directors at the Eugene Masonic Cemetery Association.

“When you read some of the headstones, you read about some of the incredible men and women and their valor. Our country wouldn’t be where we are today,” Forell said.

Memorial Day events at the cemetery have been happening since the 1990s. Eugene resident Linda Forrest said this is her neighborhood cemetery and has lived here for 40 years.

“No matter what our politics are -- we need to remember what our ancestors did and some of them died for their beliefs,” Forrest said. “There’s no reason that I can think of that you shouldn’t respect that and remember it.”

After the event, visitors were also able to experience guided tours to learn more about the cemetery and Memorial Day as a whole -- keeping the true meaning in mind.

Just a few miles down the road, the Eugene-Springfield NAACP held their 10th annual Memorial Day BBQ, which the City of Eugene helped make happen.

Executive Director Eric Richardson said the theme was “Soul of a Nation.” As he puts it, we all bleed red, so it’s important to take the time to remember and honor every life that has been lost.

Richardson also wanted to educate and allow the community to remember the link to the Civil War and the stories within the African American community.

“People have sacrificed,” Richardson said. “People have died for America to be where we are today. We need American people, residents and everybody to make it happen."

At the event, there was free food, an open mic, music and youth books were given away.

Scott Rogers is a volunteer with the Eugene-Springfield NAACP.

“I think it's important that we really recognize the African-American soldiers who have died for their country and were denied those freedoms when they return home,” Rogers said. “I hope people remember that today. So many African-Americans have died for this country, and they didn't receive the due they deserve. They didn't receive the freedoms and equity they deserve.”

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