Memorial Day ceremony planned

A special field memorial will be erected at Idlewild Cemetery on Monday to honor World War veterans who are now succumbing to old age at a rate of 2,000 per day.

The Memorial Day tribute is reminiscent of markers that were put up by mass graves on the battlefields of Europe where 407,318 military personnel died between 1939-45.

“It’s important on this day to thank and honor our veterans, but we really need to do that every day,” said Linda Adams, Hood River’s veteran affairs officer.

American Legion Post No. 22 Commander Denny Leonard said it was a common practice during both World War I and II for soldiers to stand the weapon of their fallen comrade above his burial site. His dogtags, hat and boots were then placed around the gun to register the identity of the deceased.

Leonard said the field memorial in Hood River will pay respect not only to war dead — but to their brothers and sister who are currently in harm’s way around the globe.

“We are supporting our people in life and in death,” Leonard said.

He and Adams believe that the Oregon National Guard, made up of “citizen soldiers,” should construct the memorial because of their strong local presence. They said it will be only one of many diverse duties of the Guard, which is increasingly being deployed to meet military, security and emergency demands. After the field remembrance is raised, floral tributes will be placed around it by the Legion and both Parkdale Post No. 6987 and Hood River Post 1479 of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. The floral wreaths presented by area service organizations and community businesses and individuals will be set up as usual around the base of the Veteran’s Monument.

The National Guard plays a strong role in several aspects of the May 26 ceremony, with a Color Guard leading Boy Scouts, veterans and community members in a parade. Marchers will leave the Down Manor parking lot at 9:45 a.m. and travel through the north gate of the cemetery. During the program, the Color Guard will provide a rifle salute to America’s military while air units take wing with a flyover.

The Mistress of Ceremonies, Eva Summers, is also a retired member of the Guard. The Parkdale native is an Air Force veteran who was deployed while in the West Virginia Guard and sent to the Middle East during Desert Storm. After greeting the audience, Summers will introduce Dan Brophy of Pointman Ministries, who will lead the invocation before the construction of the field memorial. Once the floral tributes have been placed, keynote speaker Robert Neiman will take the podium. The Brookside Manor resident is a World War II veteran with the United States Air Force and currently presides over six vespers services a week and a prison ministry. He has authored six books and holds two doctoral degrees.

Following Neiman’s message, the Hood River Valley High School Band will play the National Anthem and Mark Anthony, also of Pointman Ministries, provides the benediction.

World War II veteran and VFW member Leonard Porterfield then gives recognition to the 11 new markers placed along the “Walk of Honor.” For the third year, County Commission Chair Rodger Schock volunteered his time to erect testimonials along the “Scattered Ashes” pathway to the Monument. Adams said there are now 33 plaques submitted by families of service men and women who have been cremated and do not have gravestones elsewhere.

Schock is among the list of individuals Adams plans to thank for their “behind the scenes” contributions. After her comments and the rifle salute, taps will be played by the high school band during the placement of poppy wreaths.

Because the field memorial has replaced the traditional white crosses on the cemetery lawn, Adams said the Legion Junior Auxiliary will lay poppies — the red flower symbolizing blood spilled on the battlefield — next to each of the Walk of Honor markers only.

This year several area Boy Scout Troops will also provide help with both Memorial Day preparations and the official program.

Adams said these young men have signed on to set up flags at area cemeteries and then help with placement of the floral wreaths at the ceremony.

She said it is very appropriate to have the next generation of citizens paying tribute to those who have come before them to guard their liberties and freedoms.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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