More than 1.3 million service members have died fighting for America
BEND, OR. (KTVZ) -- Memorial Day is a time to reflect, remember and honor those who have lost their lives defending our country.
“It’s complete respect, complete thanksgiving," retired Army Lieutenant Colonel Pam Mindt said Monday. "It’s complete sadness and grief, yet celebration that I'm able to benefit from someone else’s sacrifices."
People came to pay their respects to fallen service members at Deschutes Memorial Gardens and at the Memorial Day "We Are Remembering ... Not Just a Number" reading of names at Troy Field in downtown Bend.
Some people shared fond memories of a loved one, some cried, and others simply came to honor the dead in silence.
Mindt, having given 39 years of military service, spoke at the ceremony at Deschutes Memorial Gardens, in honor of the lives lost.
"So many people are out of touch with what goes on in the military, and they’re so out of touch that we’re still dying," Mindt said. "There’s people who die in training, and we need to acknowledge their sacrifice and have appreciation for those people, those families who no longer have a loved one, and those who gave their today, for us to have a tomorrow.”
For the 16th annual reading of names, about 45 volunteers read the names, ages and hometowns of every U.S. serviceperson killed in Afghanistan since 2001 and Iraq since 2003.
The event director Tracy Miller expects the reading to take until 11:45 PM Monday.
A live broadcast of the reading and drum is available online.
"There is a bout of sorrow, where they’re going to be missed," retired Staff Sergeant Robert Cusick said.
Cusick served 12 years on active duty in the Marine Corps and 11 years in the Army National Guard. He served in Vietnam in 1968.
"I survived. My mission now is, I go out and I’m with the Riffle Honor Squad," Cusick said. "We do the riffle volleys for the funerals."
Since 1989, Cusick has been a part of 800 funerals.
"The company that I actually shipped over to Vietnam with, the Marines that actually shipped over -- 50 percent of them are on the Vietnam Wall," having died in Vietnam, Cusick said.
The 45 minute ceremony at Deschutes Memorial Gardens included a 21-gun salute and the playing of Taps.
Mindt said, "So many people think it's just one day, but we live it every day."
As the day began, the Bend Heroes Foundation conducted its annual Memorial Day ceremony at the Bend Heroes Memorial in Brooks Park.
Mayor Melanie Kebler and Mayor Pro-Tem Anthony Broadman were on hand as President Biden's Memorial Day proclamation was read, as well as the City Council proclamation designating Bend as a Blue Star Gold Star Families City.
Afterward, Boy Scout Troop 25 and other volunteers, totaling about 50, installed the Parade of Flags along Newport Avenue and in downtown Bend.
More than 1.3 million service members have died fighting for our freedom. These local events are one of many ways we honor those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.