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For Redmond mother who lost her Green Beret son, Bend’s Memorial Day name reading is a heartfelt event

'He was kind. He was generous. He was amazing.'

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – Memorial Day 2024, a day to acknowledge and honor those who died while serving in the military.

The 17th annual "We Are Remembering - Not Just a Number" gathering at Troy Field on Tuesday was a day where Bend remembers through a continuous reading of the names, ages and hometowns of every U.S. servicemember killed in Afghanistan since 2001, and Iraq since 2003.

Jackie Nickel’s son was among the names read this day, and one the signs listing names placed throughout the field.

“My son was Jeremy Wright," she said, kneeling by the sign that includes her son's name. "He was working on a doctorate in chemistry when he decided he needed to join the Army.

"He was a runner. He was a member of the United States Mountain Racing Team. He was a snowshoe runner and mountain runner. He was brilliant. He was kind. He was generous. He was amazing. When he joined the Army, he became a Green Beret and lost his life in Afghanistan.”

Each name read is followed by a drumbeat. Organizer Tracy Miller talks about the importance of that beat.

“I think it's pretty significant," she said. "It’s a punctuation. We've had people also describe it as a heartbeat. It's like silencing your heartbeat. So, for each person we do one. If it was for (a servicemember from) Oregon, we do two, and if it was a Central Oregon name, of which we have about eight, we do three drumbeats.”

Miller says in the future, she hopes more people will come out and support the event.

It takes 15 hours to read all the names, well into the night. This year, it also was livestreamed.

On this Memorial Day, this event highlights the national spirit of remembrance, and the enduring legacy of those who sacrificed in service of the United States.

Article Topic Follows: War-Military

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Tracee Tuesday

Tracee Tuesday is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Tracee here.


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