More than 100 people turned out in the cold Saturday to dedicate the Central Linn Veterans Memorial in Halsey. They were there to honor Central Linn County veterans who have served our nation after World War II.
The monument, located in the Veterans Memorial Park next to the public library, was two years in the making and is the culmination of efforts of the Travis Moothart American Legion Post. Funds came from the Oregon war Memorials Grant program and the Central Linn Community Foundation.
The committee spent over 200 hours working on the design and researching the more than 400 names of veterans to be included on the monument. It is meant as a continuation of the World War II memorial Plaque, located in the park as well.
"This monument is bigger than just one town," remarked U.S. Army Capt. Mark Timmons, a Brownsville resident and Iraq War veteran. He served as an infantry platoon leader from 2009 to 2010.
Timmons offered the Oregon National Guard image of a farmer with one hand on his plow and the other on a rifle to describe the dedication and sacrifice made by veterans.
"These men and women all started in the same place that our forefathers did," Timmons said. "Citizens first, but when their country needed them they stepped forward in service to their country."
While Timmons spoke, coats and hats in the audience revealed the many veterans who were listening, many of them with Vietnam Veteran emblazoned on their ball caps. For those men, the memorial resonates in a special way; their experience was punctuated with indifference and even scorn when they came home, and only recently has their service and sacrifice been recognized.
Still others, in their late 20s and early 40s, are veterans of more recent wars, and carry the same load as the ones who came before them, now with a touchstone for their shared sacrifice. The Central Linn Monument is designed to honor them all.
Timmons also offered some words about the virtue of service, and the value of a community that recognizes that virtue. Citing the 19th century French political scientist Alexis de Tocqueville, who wrote in his book, "Democracy in America" that America will cease to be great when it ceases to be good, Timmons said the monument dedication is also "a terrific testimony to a good community."
"You should be very proud of this accomplishment and I am pleased to call Central Linn my home," said Timmons.
After a benediction from retired U.S. Air force Chaplain Jeff Black and a moment of silence, U.S. Army veteran Ernie Dominguez played taps and veterans and their families gathered around the memorial, telling stories and sharing experiences.
At the reception in the library, over hot cider and cookies, Tony Goiburn of OM Stone, the Hillsboro company that built the monument, said it warms his heart to see it installed. He also explained that the names etched into the monument is an element inspired by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C., and that the same font was used to create the Halsey memorial.
While the monument contains the names of just over 400 veterans, it was designed with extra space in order to accommodate more names as they are offered or discovered.