Southern Oregon residents have plenty of opportunities on Memorial Day to honor those who paid the ultimate price for their country.
Events are planned in Ashland, Central Point and Eagle Point in Jackson County; Cave Junction and Grants Pass in Josephine County; and for those spending the weekend on the South Coast, remembrances are planned in Brookings and Gold Beach.
Both houses of Congress will be represented at morning events in Central Point and Eagle Point.
Sen. Ron Wyden, Rep. Greg Walden and retired Marine Col. Dave Dotterrer, a state senate candidate, will speak at Eagle Point National Cemetery.
A crowd of about 2,000 is anticipated at the cemetery, 2763 Riley Road, where youth groups, veterans and their families converge annually to remember service members who died. The ceremony begins at 11 a.m.
"If you look at the license plates, there are people who come a long ways," said Vietnam veteran Bob Huff of the Jackson County Allied Veterans Council, who coordinates the event.
Annual fly-overs by military units were suspended three years ago, but local pilots have filled in with biplanes and a helicopter, Huff said. A bagpipe band also will play at the event.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Dennis Richardson will join Wyden and Walden in addressing a gathering at the Oregon Fallen War Heroes Memorial Commemoration at Don Jones Park, 223 W. Vilas Road, Central Point.
Coordinator Jennifer Boardman anticipates between 100 and 150 people will attend the 9 a.m. event, first held in 2008. A bagpipe band will perform.
In Ashland, American Legion Post 14 and VFW Post 353 will put on a ceremony at Mountain View Cemetery, 440 Normal Ave. Valley of the Rogue New Horizons Band, Southern Oregon Concert Band and Ashland High School choir will perform. Boy Scout Troop 112 will present the flag.
In Grants Pass, an 11 a.m. ceremony will be hosted at Hillcrest Memorial Park by the Marine Corps League. Nearly 1,000 flags will be displayed in the Avenue of Flags. At noon, an annual ceremony to remember and salute fallen military veterans will be held at Riverside Park.
In the Illinois Valley, American Legion Post 70 will put on three events in Cave Junction, beginning with a 10 a.m. ceremony at City Hall, 222 Lister Ave., where taps will be played. At 10:30 a.m., a ceremony will be held at the World War I monument near Jubilee Park. A ceremony will also be held at 11 a.m. at Laurel Cemetery on Laurel Avenue.
The original iteration of Memorial Day began three years after the Civil War ended, on May 30, 1868. Then called Decoration Day, it provided an opportunity for flowers to be laid on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. Memorial Day is now a federal holiday that is observed on the last Monday in May.
Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or email@example.com.