|12/19/2017 1:14:00 PM|
Sisters holds wreath ceremony
At 9 a.m. PST on Saturday, December 16, observances commenced at some 1,300 sites across the United States, honoring the lives of military veterans who are now departed. From Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia to Camp Polk Cemetery in Sisters, volunteers laid wreaths on the graves of military veterans and offered up a salute of remembrance during the holiday season.
|Kris Kristovich laid a wreath on the grave of Dave Goodwin during a Wreaths Across America ceremony on Saturday morning, December 15. photo by Jerry Baldock|
Addressing an assemblage of military veterans from Sisters VFW Post 8138 and American Legion Post 86, Jeri Buckmann, who helped coordinate the event, said, "Remember, we are not here to decorate graves. We are here not to remember their deaths but their lives. Each wreath is a gift of appreciation from a grateful America."
There are 39 military veterans buried at Camp Polk Cemetery. Lance Trowbridge read the name of each, as Pat Bowe tolled a small brass bell. An honor guard fired a salute into the frosty morning air.
In his keynote remarks, retired Air Force Colonel John Miller noted that there are many men and women serving in combat zones across the world during this holiday season.
"These men and women are part of the best-trained, best-equipped force in the world. We honor them and their families for the sacrifices they make each day to keep our country safe from terrorism, hatred and injustice."
Col. Miller urged citizens to teach their children the value of freedom, quoting President Ronald Reagan:
"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free."
The cemetery, in Whychus Creek Canyon next to the Camp Polk Meadow Preserve owned by the Deschutes Land Trust, is a true pioneer cemetery, with graves dating back to the 1880s, with names like Fryrear and Hindman, Allingham, Farthing and Wilson marking the stones.
Camp Polk Cemetery was originally owned by four Sisters families including the Hindmans, who settled in Camp Polk Meadow. The remnants of their old barn can be seen on the Camp Polk Meadow Preserve property. In the early 1940s the property was entrusted to Thelma Roberts, and since then no additional ownership changes have taken place.
The peaceful natural setting of Camp Polk Cemetery enhanced the beauty and power of the observance.
Kris Kristovich, a military veteran and local photographer, placed a wreath on the grave of Dave Goodwin. He noted, "I was further touched by the hearing the single call note of the Townsend's solitaire during the ceremony."
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