Ceremonies mark Memorial Day activities in Clark County

By Tom Vogt, Columbian Science, Military & History Reporter



Memorial Day Weekend Ceremonies


 Fern Prairie, 11 a.m., Fern Prairie Cemetery, 25700 N.E. Robinson Road, Camas.


• Camas, 9 a.m., Camas Cemetery, 630 N.E. Oak St.

• Portland, 10 a.m., Willamette National Cemetery, 11800 S.E. Mount Scott Blvd.

• Ridgefield, 10 a.m., Ridgefield Cemetery, Cemetery Road.

• Vancouver, 11 a.m., bandstand at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, opposite Officers Row.

• Battle Ground, 11 a.m., Battle Ground Veterans Memorial, Kiwanis Park, 422 S.W. Second Ave.

• Washougal, 11 a.m., Washougal Memorial Cemetery, 3329 Q St.

• Vancouver, 11 a.m., Evergreen Memorial Gardens, 1101 N.E. 112th. Ave.

• La Center, noon, La Center Cemetery, Highland Road.

Two special flags — and an 80-foot flagpole to display one of them — will be part of Memorial Day activities Monday at Fort Vancouver and in Battle Ground.

They are among several salutes in Clark County cemeteries or other community spaces honoring those who gave their lives in service to our country. Several will feature honor guards and musical performances.

The weekend’s observances start Saturday with an 11 a.m. ceremony at Fern Prairie Cemetery in Camas.

The 11 a.m. ceremony at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site will be at the bandstand on the north side of the Vancouver Barracks Parade Ground, opposite Officers Row.

Keynote speaker Col. Duke A. Pirak is commander of the Oregon Air National Guard’s 142nd Fighter Wing, based in Portland.

Also scheduled to speak are host Larry Smith, retired Army colonel and former Vancouver mayor pro tem; Fort Vancouver Superintendent Tracy Fortmann; Vancouver Mayor Tim Leavitt; Clark County Council Chair Marc Boldt; and U.S. Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Camas.

The ceremony will include the dedication of an 80-foot garrison flagpole on the Parade Ground.

After two years of archaeological work, the flagpole is being installed in the same spot where an earlier pole — measuring 150 feet tall — flew the American flag during the 19th century. The ceremony is scheduled to include the raising of a large garrison flag.

Following the ceremony, there will be a soldiers’ bivouac re-enactment on the Parade Ground until 3 p.m. Costumed volunteers will represent many periods in the site’s military history. Additionally, the Vancouver Barracks Military Association will display antique military vehicles.

Battle Ground will hold its second Memorial Day observance at the Battle Ground Veterans Memorial. Mayor Philip Johnson, a retired U.S. Army officer, will lead the 11 a.m. ceremony at Kiwanis Park, 422 S.W. Second Ave.

Thirty-one local men whose names are engraved on the memorial’s wall will be honored with a reading of their names.

An Honor and Remember flag will be presented to the family of Army Cpl. Jeremiah J. Johnson. The 2001 Prairie High School graduate died on Jan. 5, 2007, from injuries he received in Iraq. The flag has a red field that includes blue and gold stars, with a white field featuring the words “Honor and Remember.”

An observance at Willamette National Cemetery in Portland, the final resting place for tens of thousands who have served, is expected to draw more than 2,500 people.

The 67th annual Memorial Day ceremony will include a speech by Dennis Richardson, Oregon secretary of state, and a fly-over by the Oregon Air National Guard. Heading into the Monday observance, Boy Scouts and their parents will place small American flags at 148,000 graves.