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Jun-06-2014 19:56printcommentsVideo

On D-Day; Thousands Turn Out for New Oregon WWII Memoral

3,771 names line the stones walls of the memorial.


Oregon veterans and their families walk through the Oregon WWII Memorial at Willson Park in Salem, Ore., following the dedication ceremony on Friday. Of the 152,000 Oregonians who served during WWII, an estimated 20,000 are still alive today and 3,772 are recorded as having paid the ultimate sacrifice during the war. Photo: Sgt. 1st Class April Davis, Oregon Military Department Public Affairs

(SALEM, Ore. ) - On the 70th anniversary of D-Day, the Allied invasion of Europe, nearly 1,000 Oregon veterans and their families gathered at Willson Park in Salem for the dedication of the Oregon WWII Memorial.

According to the Historical Outreach Foundation, of the 152,000 Oregonians who served during WWII, an estimated 20,000 are still alive today and 3,772 are recorded as having paid the ultimate sacrifice during the war.

World War II veterans who fought and died in every theater of battle, and those people who served on the home front, will be honored and remembered during the dedication in Willson Park, on the corner of Cottage and Court Street.

"We want our World War II veterans and those on the home front to be the first to see their memorial," said World War II Memorial Foundation chair, Lou Jaffe. "Our goal from day one has been for this memorial to forever be a reminder of the Oregonians who served both at home and abroad during the war.

"This memorial will not only honor that war's veterans, but educate young people so they'll always honor and remember those who fought and died in the war during what was probably our nation's finest hour when we came together in unity."

3,771 names line the stones walls of the memorial.

Jaffe also said constructing this memorial is long past due as most World War II veterans are now in their nineties. Until now, Oregon has been one of only six states in the U.S. without a WWII memorial to honor its veterans. In 2011, then Gov. Ted Kulongoski and the Oregon Legislature formalized a task force and foundation, authorizing it to build an official memorial in Salem.

The Oregon WWII Memorial covers a 75 by 75 foot area at the northwest corner of the capital grounds. At its center is a 33-foot-high obelisk, denoting Oregon as the 33rd state in the union. It is partially surrounded by two black granite walls that bear the names of the more than 3,770 Oregonians who gave their lives while serving in combat.

Most of the memorial's stone floor is made up of "pavers" inscribed with a global map. There are two granite benches featured inside the memorial.

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