COMMUNITY, SALEM EVENTS

PHOTOS: Salem pauses to remember fallen veterans in Memorial Day ceremony

With speeches and silence, a Memorial Day ceremony took place at the Oregon World War II Memorial in Willson Park on the Capitol grounds.

The event on Monday, May 27, opened with a flyover by F-15 Eagle fighter jets from the Oregon Air National Guard, a presentation of colors by the ROTC color guard from North Salem High School and the performance of the national anthem by Soundscape, West Salem High School’s a cappella group.

Gov. Tina Kotek addressed those gathered and so did Oregon Adjutant General Alan Gronewold and Thuy Tran, a state representative from Portland who is also a lieutenant colonel in the Oregon Air National Guard.

Among veterans gathered for the event was Vern Staley of Stayton. Now 100, Staley was a medic in the U.S. Army’s 70th Infantry Division during its combat in Europe in World War II.

The memorial, dedicated in 2014, includes two walls listing the 3,771 Oregonians killed in action during World War II. In all, 146,633 Oregonians served during the war.

VIDEO: Memorial Day ceremony

Vern Staley, a 100-year-old veteran, talks with Gov. Tina Kotek at the the Memorial Day ceremony at the Oregon World War II Memorial in Willson Park on Monday, May 27, 2024. He was a medic with the 70th Infantry Division in Europe. (RON COOPER/Special to Salem Reporter)
F-15 Eagle fighter jets from the 142nd Wing of the Air National Guard fly over the Memorial Day ceremony at the Oregon World War II Memorial in Salem on Monday, May 27, 2024. (RON COOPER/Special to Salem Reporter)
Observers watch the Memorial Day ceremony at the Oregon World War II Memorial in Willson Park on Monday, May 27, 2024. (RON COOPER/Special to Salem Reporter)
The ROTC color guard from North Salem High School participates in the Memorial Day ceremony at the Oregon World War II Memorial in Willson Park on Monday, May 27, 2024. (RON COOPER/Special to Salem Reporter)
Oregon Adjutant General Alan Gronewold (right) participates in the Memorial Day ceremony at the Oregon World War II Memorial in Willson Park on Monday, May 27, 2024. (RON COOPER/Special to Salem Reporter)
Observers watch the Memorial Day ceremony at the Oregon World War II Memorial in Willson Park on Monday, May 27, 2024. (RON COOPER/Special to Salem Reporter)
Two share a moment at the Memorial Day ceremony at the Oregon World War II Memorial in Willson Park on Monday, May 27, 2024. (RON COOPER/Special to Salem Reporter)
Thuy Tran, a state representative from Portland and a lieutenant colonel in the Oregon Air National Guard, speaks at in the Memorial Day ceremony at the Oregon World War II Memorial in Willson Park on Monday, May 27, 2024. (RON COOPER/Special to Salem Reporter)
Observers participate in the Memorial Day ceremony at the Oregon World War II Memorial in Willson Park on Monday, May 27, 2024. (RON COOPER/Special to Salem Reporter)
Observers look over the names of Oregonians killed enscribed on walls at the Oregon World War II Memorial in Willson Park. The setting was the scene for the Memorial Day observance on Monday, May 27, 2024. (RON COOPER/Special to Salem Reporter)

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Photographer Ron Cooper and his wife Penny moved to Salem in 1969 to take a job as photographer at the Oregon Statesman (later the Statesman Journal). Their three children, Monica, Kimberly, and Christopher, attended and graduated from Salem public schools. Cooper retired from the Statesman Journal in 2001 but, has continued his passion for photography in many ways, including as a photographer for the Salem Reporter.