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MEDIA RELEASE: Oregon Department of Veterans' Affairs Director Shares Memorial Day Message (Photo) - 05/18/22

Memorial Day is a day when we stand united as one nation to pause and to remember. We pause to honor those service members who died while in service to this nation — in service to us all — to preserve and defend our individual freedoms. 

Since the Civil War, almost 6,000 Oregonians have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to this nation. On Memorial Day, we honor them and the more than 1.2 million service members who have given their lives nationwide.

This year, our agency will, for the first time in three years, have the chance to once again gather for an in-person Memorial Day ceremony at the Oregon World War II Memorial in Salem. This memorial honors the more than 3,700 Oregonians who gave their lives in World War II. We — as veterans and Americans — who came after them, owe so much for their sacrifice and the peace and stability that they helped secure for our nation and the world. 

Each and every one of their names is forever engraved on the granite walls that line this remarkable memorial. If you have the chance, I encourage you to visit this site and spend some time reflecting on their sacrifice. 

And as you walk any veteran memorial and remember those to whom it is dedicated, I urge you to also pause and remember those service members who came before and those who came after. This year’s ceremony is dedicated not to a particular generation of service members or conflict, but to all Oregonians — throughout time — who wore the uniform and, especially, those nearly 6,000 individuals and their families who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedoms and our way of life.

Every service member had a story, and many faced additional challenges beyond the common trials and tribulations of war. Some were poor and uneducated. Some were privileged, with college or advanced degrees. Some were working men and women, with spouses and families. Some were 15- and 16-year-olds who lied about their dates of birth just to enlist.

Some were Black or mixed race, Hispanic or Latinx, Asian American or Pacific Islander, and they volunteered to serve a country that did not afford them rights or opportunities equal to those of their fellow countrymen and service members at the time of their service. Before the Korean War, our military served in segregated units, and many endured prejudice and bigotry from their own country even as they risked their lives and freedom to protect it.

Some of the courageous Oregonians who served and gave their lives in service to our country and whose memories we honor today were women who would not even be recognized as veterans of the United States Armed Forces until the 1970s. Others were quietly transgender, gay, lesbian or queer, who grappled with the pain of giving their all to a country that did not want every part of them, that did not allow them to serve openly as their true, authentic selves. 

We as a nation and, especially, as veterans who followed in their footsteps, owe an additional debt of gratitude to the brave soldiers, sailors, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard members who served under these policies and conditions. Their courage, selflessness, dignity and exceptional service did much to sway public opinion and pave the way for a brighter and more inclusive future. 

On this Memorial Day, let us honor the unique loss and pain of each and every one of the 6,000 Oregonians and their families whose sacrifices we remember today. 

Words cannot express our gratitude and appreciation for the brave Oregonians who willingly made these sacrifices. The enormity of their courage humbles and inspires us. This day reminds us to be better as individuals, as a community and as a nation. As long as we, as one united nation, remember their sacrifices, their loss will not have been in vain. 

The Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs’ Statewide Memorial Day Celebration will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, May 30, at the WWII Memorial on the grounds of the Oregon State Capitol Building. For more information or to watch live, visit ODVA’s Facebook page.

Kelly Fitzpatrick is the director of the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs and Governor Kate Brown’s policy advisor on veterans’ issues. She is a retired Army officer. Her military awards and decorations include multiple awards of the Meritorious Service Medal, the Southwest Asia Service Medal and the Army Parachutist Badge.

Attached Media Files: Kelly_Fitzpatrick.jpg
Oregon Statewide Memorial Day Ceremony 2022 promotional graphic
Oregon Statewide Memorial Day Ceremony 2022 promotional graphic
Oregon Department of Veterans' Affairs to Host In-Person Statewide Memorial Day Event (Photo) - 05/12/22

The Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs will host Oregon’s annual Statewide Memorial Day Ceremony in person at 11 a.m., Monday, May 30, at the Oregon World War II Memorial located on the grounds of the Oregon State Capitol in Salem.

The event will honor the nation’s fallen service members and include remarks from veteran leaders and state dignitaries, a color guard ceremony, performance of the national anthem, and the laying of a wreath followed by the playing of “Taps.” It is the first in-person Memorial Day event the agency has hosted since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“On Memorial Day, we, as one nation, pause to remember and honor those service members who paid the ultimate price to preserve and defend our freedoms,” said ODVA Director Kelly Fitzpatrick. “We are grateful on this meaningful occasion to gather together in honor and remembrance of the nearly 6,000 Oregonians and more than 1.2 million Americans who have given their lives in service to our country.”

The Oregon WWII Memorial is located on the corner of Church and Court Street Northeast. Limited seating will be available. Attendees are encouraged to dress appropriately for the weather. The event will also be livestreamed beginning at 11:00 a.m. on ODVA’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/odvavet.


Oregon Department of Veterans' Affairs Advisory Committee to Hold Virtual Meeting in June - 05/03/22

The next meeting of the Advisory Committee to the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs will be held Wednesday, June 1, 2022, via Zoom. The meeting is being held virtually and begins at 9:30 a.m. The public is invited to attend.

The committee is made up of veterans appointed by the governor to provide counsel on veteran issues and represent veteran concerns across Oregon. Its nine members serve in a vital advisory role to the director and staff of the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

ODVA’s Reports to the Advisory Committee are available to the public on the ODVA website: https://issuu.com/odva/stacks/38107bb40c054695831edf5634865ca4

To attend:

You will need to pre-register using this link: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZwudeirrzksEtLtNYa_M71dTFtv1n1qCONv

Pre-registration is required. Once pre-registered you will receive the meeting link.

Join by Zoom via Telephone: Dial 1 (253) 215-8782. When prompted, enter the meeting ID: 883 2131 2686 # and password/participant ID: 708263#

You will be prompted to state your name. State your first and last name.

Town Hall:

There will be a Town Hall at the end of the business meeting in which we invite you to ask questions of the committee and director. This time is set aside for individuals to bring up broader veteran community issues. Members of the community are also invited to submit written public comments to the Committee at the following email address: vaac@odva.state.or.us

More information can be found online at www.oregon.gov/odva/Pages/advisory.aspx or to contact the Advisory Committee, please email vaac@odva.state.or.us