Giving thanks to our veterans

Veterans Day attendees socialized at the Armory after ceremonies finished.

On Monday, Nov. 11, the Veterans of Foreign Wars conducted a Veterans Day ceremony in the Cottage Grove Armory.

The American Legion and City of Cottage Grove assisted with the ceremony, which included participation by the Oregon Tuba Ensemble, Boy Scouts Troop 140, the Lincoln Middle School Choir and the VFW Post 3473 rifle team.

Commmander Kristine Sweezy led the welcoming and dedication ceremonies.

Mayor Jeff Gowing began speeches by reciting the United States Armed Forces oath of enlistment.

"It doesn't matter which branch or area you served in," he said. "We all took the same oath, we all served our time and now we are all veterans."

Special guest speaker Raymond Arthur Bourque, 92, recalled his service in the South Pacific theater during World War II.

Bourque served in the Navy from 1943 to 1946 on board the USS Healy, a 2,100-ton destroyer. He took part in both operations in Iwo Jima and Okinawa.

Bourque continued service in Admiral Halsey's 3rd Fleet, surviving a typhoon with 100-foot waves.

"It tossed [the destroyer] around like it was a rowboat," he said.

Bourque encouraged attending veterans to participate in the Honor Flight program, a network of organizations and chapters which transport veterans to memorial sites at no cost.

"It's a date you'll never forget," said Bourque. "And you'll be honoring our veterans who could not return."

Invocation and closing prayers were conducted by Chaplain Bryan Ducker.

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