Tribal Government & News

Memorial Day event tentatively slated for May 31

03.09.2021 Dean Rhodes Events
Tribal member JC Rogers performs "The Star Spangled Banner" during the Memorial Day event held at the West Valley Veterans Memorial in May 2019. (Photo by Timothy J. Gonzalez/Smoke Signals)


By Dean Rhodes

Smoke Signals editor

In a sign that things are slowly and cautiously inching toward returning to normal, Tribal Council member Steve Bobb Sr. announced on Tuesday, March 9, that the annual Memorial Day ceremony will be held at the West Valley Veterans Memorial on Monday, May 31.

Last year’s event was canceled as the COVID-19 pandemic became a major public health concern in Oregon.

Bobb said he talked with Tribal Council Chairwoman Cheryle A. Kennedy and General Manager David Fullerton about holding an outdoors event at 1 p.m. that will include proper social distancing. The usual noon meal that precedes the event inside the Community Center will not be held.

In 2020, Army veterans Douglas D. Stake, Alden H. Clark, Linden W. Frederic, Donald E. Holsclaw, David W. Weaver and Mervin J. Holmes and Navy veteran Ramona L. Quenelle had their names etched on to one of the four black granite pillars – one for each major branch of the U.S. military. Clark was a Grand Ronde Tribal member.

So far this year, the Tribe has received only one application to have a name added to the memorial.

Bobb said he has recruited Army Col. Larry Brown as the keynote speaker. He was a helicopter pilot who did two tours of duty in Vietnam and was shot down nine times.

Last year’s ceremony would have been the 18th held after the memorial was dedicated in 2003. It was designed by Bobb, a Vietnam War-era Marine Corps veteran, and features a man and woman dressed in traditional Native clothing standing side by side reaching for the sky.

The four pillars feature the names of Tribal and community members from Grand Ronde, Willamina and Sheridan. The addition of seven names last year increased the total on all four pillars to 2,369.