While this week’s wintry weather and continued sub-freezing temperatures necessitated some scaling back of Saturday morning’s Iwo Jima Remembrance Ceremony at the Canby Adult Center, it failed to derail the event.
As Canby/Aurora Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6057 Commander Martin Lackner, in his final time as emcee of the annual ceremony, wryly noted, “The weather was not ideal on Iwo Jima either, and the Marines didn’t reschedule.”
The event is traditionally staged on a Saturday before or after the conventional Iwo Jima remembrance date of February 19.
It has been held faithfully every year since the small Iwo Jima memorial was installed outside the Canby Adult Center on the battle’s 50th anniversary in 1995. The event is organized by the VFW Post and Auxiliary, with support from other partnering groups, organizations and individuals.
Iwo Jima was one of the bloodiest battles of World War II, particularly for the U.S. Marine Corps, which lost almost 7,000 men in 36 days of fierce fighting.
Those in attendance this year included local World War II Navy atomic veteran Arbie Irwin, Korean War veteran Leonard Rothenberger and Vietnam veteran Jerry Bagge.
According to tradition, Irwin and other veterans, along with family members and dignitaries, sprinkled packets of black sand from the island on the rock at the Canby Adult Center that is dedicated to those who fought at Iwo Jima.
Dignitaries included State Representative James Hieb, who is also an Iraq War Marine veteran, Canby City Council President Traci Hensley and City Councilor Jason Padden.
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Marin Murrell served as bugler for the event, while J.J. Morrell, of Three Rivers VFW Post No. 1324 in Oregon City, provided chaplain duties.
Sergeant Jonathan Sifuentes, Sergeant Oscar G. Rodriguez and Corporal Ernesto A. Slagle, of the 6th Engineer Support Battalion in Portland, performed color guard honors, led by Sergeant Major Christopher Lewis.
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