For Those Who Have Fallen

Last Wednesday the rain and breezy weather set a somber mood for the LBCC Memorial Day Vigil. It rained enough to move the event from the courtyard to the Eastern entrance of the campus. The event was sponsored by the LBCC Veteran’s Club and featured the members of the American Legion Post 10 in Albany and their color guard, Vets Helping Vets HQ, and Local vets from different wars and different branches of the service made appearances at the ceremony.
Derek Smith, the LBCC Vets Club president, presided over the ceremony which included the LBCC choir honoring the ceremony with a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem and America the Beautiful, and the Color Guard posted the colors,(the US and Oregon State flag). Before Smith began the proceedings he requested a moment of silence for those suffering in Oklahoma during the recent storm.
The main speaker, Victor Kuhns, President of Vets Helping Vets HQ, first gave a history of Memorial Day, then explained to the crowd of about 30 to 40 students, staff and guests what Memorial Day meant to him. Kuhns explained, “Because to them [Veterans] we are able to live in a free society with liberties that even our most desperate and reviled enemies admire”.
As he spoke, tears were dapped around the vigil. Kuhns continued with, “The price was paid for each one of us here today. As my hear weeps and the tears flow”, he said while choking back his own emotions, “the voice says you will never be forgotten”. Kuhns also said, “The ones that have come home have settled into my heart, the ones that didn’t come home have settled deeper into my heart”.
After Mr. Kuhns completed his thoughts in words, Derek Smith introduced Eriq Thompson of the Boy Scout Troop 99 in Albany. The young Mr. Thompson played a heart wrenching presentation of Taps in honor of all the fallen from the past and present.
Derek Smith explained that before the ending of the vigil, there were some very special guests, Robin and Mecenna Davis, which needed to be recognized. Smith, struggling with his own emotions, announced the presentation of a memorial flag to Robin in honor of her father, Staff Sargent Kevin Davis, US Army. Tears streamed down Mecenna’s face as Robin was presented a folded flag by a color guard member who handed it to her on bended knee.
Smith continued after the presentation with, “We would like to extend our sincere condolences to your entire family”, again Smith battled with his emotions, “The loss of Kevin was not in vain and we are truly in dept to you”, Smith said as he spoke directly to the Davis Family members who were there.
Derek Smith concluded the vigil by thanking all those groups and people who were responsible in making the event successful, including the LBCC Vets Club, LBCC Student Leadership Council, campus staff and administration, LBCC Choral Group, American Legion, Post 10 and Color Guard in Albany, American Legion, Post 51 in Lebanon, Victor Kuhns, President, Vets Helping Vets HQ, and Eriq Thompson of the Boy Scout Troop 99 in Albany. After the colors were retired, everyone was thanked and dismissed.
One of the things that made this event special was the presence of Dave Adams of KGAL Radio. The entire ceremony was being broadcasted on KGAL during their Valley Talk radio show and was also being streamed live on operationeagleswing.com and vetshelpingvetshq.us. The entire vigil can be seen on YouTube at youtu.be/8hyFNA51JyE
One of the people in attendance was LBCC’s own theater instructor and director Dan Stone, who said, “I want thank the Veteran’s Club for a memorable heart felt service today. As a veteran myself who has experienced the loss of friends and family in the line of duty I am greatly appreciative.”
Even with the vigil being moved to a less than high traffic area on campus, and with less than perfect weather, it seems to be very success full. Even though the attendance was a little less than expected, it seemed to be a wonderful and emotional event in showing respect to those armed services that have fallen.

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About D.K. Hummel
I am a dis-placed Alaskan, Ham radio operator, Broadcaster/DJ, Seahawk fan, Alaska Aces fan, U.S. Army Vet, and a conservative; but not always in that order.

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