Tribal Government & News

Memorial Day ceremony set for Monday, May 29

04.27.2017 Dean Rhodes Tribal Council, Culture, People, Events

If you go

15th Memorial Day Ceremony

When: Noon Monday, May 29

Where: Tribal Community Center & West Valley Veterans Memorial, 9615 Grand Ronde Road

More info: 503-876-3118

The annual Memorial Day event at the West Valley Veterans Memorial on the Grand Ronde Tribal campus will be highlighted by Tribal Council Chairman Reyn Leno, a Vietnam War-era Marine Corps veteran, reading the 10 names being added to the four black granite pillars that represent the major branches of the U.S. armed forces.

The Grand Ronde Honor Guard begins the day with its customary solemn ceremonies at the Tribal Cemetery at 8 a.m. followed by ceremonies in Willamina at 9, Buck Hollow at 10 and Sheridan at 11.

The main event begins at noon with a ceremonial meal served in the nearby Tribal Community Center.

The outdoors ceremony begins at 1 p.m. with Steve Bobb Sr., chairman of the Tribe’s Veterans Special Event Board and also a Marine Corps veteran from the Vietnam War era, giving the invocation and serving as master of ceremonies.

Grand Ronde drummers will play a memorial song, Tribal youth JC Rogers will sing the national anthem as she did in 2016 and Grand Ronde Royalty and Veterans Royalty will perform “The Lord’s Prayer” as sung by Aaron Neville.

The Grand Ronde Honor Guard will post the colors and speakers will include Polk County Veterans Service Officer Marie McCandless, Yamhill County Veterans Service Officer Jerry Wilson and Veterans Benefit Specialist Niki Volz.

Names being added to the West Valley Veterans Memorial this year are Navy veterans Steven E. Rife Jr., Russell H. Talmadge, Dennis J. Kleffner and Ryan D. Jackman; Air Force veteran Walter F. Schmale; Army veterans Harold R. Hobbs, Dennis D. Ylitalo and Charles M. Parker; and Marine Corps veterans and Tribal members Gerard C. Bolden and Dru W. Stromberg Jr.

The addition of 10 names brings the total number of veterans honored on the pillars to 2,335.

The ceremony will close with Bud Abbott reciting his traditional poem “Remember Me, America” and Robert Thornburg performing taps on the trumpet.

The West Valley Veterans Memorial, which was dedicated in 2003, was designed by Bobb and features a man and a woman dressed in traditional Native clothing standing side by side reaching to the sky. Surrounding them are four black granite pillars, which feature the names of Tribal and community veterans from Grand Ronde, Willamina and Sheridan.