(Update: Ceremony held, memorial sign installed)
Marine killed in Vietnam in 1966 was Bend High graduate; ODOT installed memorial sign Monday
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Sunday was Gold Star Mother's and Family's Day, and the Bend Heroes Foundation honored Bend's 112 Gold Star families at the Bend Heroes Memorial, with a special honor bestowed on a fallen hero from Bend.
The organization honored US Marine Corps Lance Corporal Don Edward Darnall with the unveiling of a Fallen Hero Memorial Highway sign. LCPL Darnall, a 1964 graduate of Bend High School, was killed in action in Vietnam in 1966, at the age of 20.
Darnall's widow, Phyllis Darnall, also a Gold Star Wife, and Valerie Morey, president of the Northwest Region Gold Star Wives of America, helped unveil the sign.
Phyllis requested the foundation to fly her late husband's flag with 300 other flags the foundation and volunteers display on the Veterans Memorial Bridge and downtown Bend 8-10 times annually.
Despite Sunday's rain, foundation Chairman Dick Tobiason said "the patriots - especially the 17 Darnall relatives - were not deterred."
"It was an honor for Bend Heroes Foundation to organize the ceremony and request Senator Tim Knopp to sponsor legislation (SCR 11) for the highway sign," Tobiason added.
An ODOT crew installed Darnall's sign on Monday on Century Drive near milepost 7 - just past the exit to the Seventh Mountain Resort.
LCPL Darnall is one of 13 Bend veterans killed in Vietnam and one of 112 Bend veterans who died during wars from WWI to the present.
Proclamations issued by the President of the United States, Oregon Governor, and Mayor, City of Bend were read at the event.
A flag flown over the U.S. Capitol and monogrammed with LCPL Darnall's name, Gold Stars, and USMC service was presented to Phyllis Darnall.
The status of the 477 mile Oregon Gold Star Families Memorial Highway across Oregon on U.S. Hwy 30 initiated by Bend Heroes Foundation will be presented
A wreath will be laid by all Gold Star family members attending.
They will install flags at Bend Heroes Memorial and on Veterans Memorial Bridge at 8:00 am and remove them immediately after the 2:00 pm ceremony.