“The memorial is dedicated to those who have served in the past and now,” said Vietnam veteran Sam Vitale. “Let’s not forget those serving today and those who will serve in the future.”
In addition to the names of many of the county’s veterans, the memorial also includes the names of law enforcement officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty.
The $130,000 memorial received funding from a grant from the Oregon Department of Parks and Recreation, in addition from many private donations and fundraisers. It is the culmination of many years of work and planning to get a memorial in Curry County.
The Oregon Army National Guard color guard team presented the colors during the ceremony. Stephanie LaTorre sang the National Anthem, and, along with Vitale, Jodi Fritts, Gold Beach city administrator, announced the many speakers at the event.
Representative Wayne Krieger, Master Sgt. Phillip Jacques, Sheriff John Bishop, Chief Dixon Andrews, Fire Chief Jim Watson, County Commissioner David Brock Smith and John Burch of the Associates of Vietnam Veterans of America spoke during the dedication. Veteran Jim Blunt talked about the Montagnard people of Vietnam and his experiences with them during his time there.
“Over 16 percent of Curry County’s citizens are veterans and today, as we should every day, we honor them, our local emergency services personnel as well as all veterans who have served and continue to serve with this Curry County Veterans Memorial,” Smith said.
The Marine Corps League played Taps and gave a rifle salute near the conclusion of the ceremony.
The Curry County Veterans Memorial is located at the corner of Shirley Lane and Highway 101, near the Gold Beach Visitor Center at the south end of town.