The Avenue of Flags, held annually on Memorial Day, honors those who paid the ultimate sacrifice to preserve our country’s freedoms. (CHRIS BAXTER/The Observer)
Another chapter of a meaningful Memorial Day tradition will be marked Monday at Grandview Cemetery.
Veterans will again be saluted during the 26th annual Avenue of Flags ceremony.
The program begins at 11 a.m. with an opening prayer by Roger Cochran, pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in La Grande. Cochran, a veteran, will then present a keynote address.
The ceremony will also include:
• a rendition of the “National Anthem” by the Union trio of Lauren Bihr, Colt Haney and Tom Stratton.
• the raising of the colors by two solders with the local National Guard Unit, the 3rd Infantry, 116th Calvary. The guardsmen will lower the flag to half mast after raising it.
• a reading of a letter saluting veterans written by U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden.
The ceremony will be conducted in the presence of close to 200 American flags mounted on poles along the road running through the cemetery. The burial flags for American veterans were donated by their families.
The flags will be put up at 6 a.m. Saturday by members American Legion Post 43. Throughout the weekend, lights powered by generators will be on at night at Grandview. A federal resolution written by the American Legion and adopted by Congress requires all American flags displayed after dark to be illuminated enough that they can be identified, said Lonnie Myers, commander for La Grande American Legion Post 43. Myers is in charge of the ceremony.
The flags at Grandview will taken down at 3 p.m. Monday and stored at the headquarters of American Legion Post 43.
The Avenue of Flags ceremony is one of at least three Memorial Day events set for Union County. Also scheduled are:
• a Military Colors Ceremony at the Summerville Cemetery at 8 a.m. Monday. The ceremony, organized by the Summerville Cemetery, will be like those conducted on military bases and include a musical tribute. Everyone attending is encouraged to be seated by 7:50 a.m.
• the High Valley Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4060 will conduct a ceremony Monday at 9 a.m. in the Union City Park. A flag will be raised, and the songs for each of the five branches of the military will be played. Names of the more than 200 veterans buried in Union Cemetery will be read and Taps will be played.