For the fifth year on Memorial Day, community members volunteered their time to read the name, age and hometown of every soldier killed in Afghanistan since 2001 and Iraq since 2003. This year it took 13 hours, 15 minutes to complete the reading (8:30 a.m.–9:45 p.m.).I find we always have a positive response when the call goes out to obtain volunteer readers. Several have read on more than one Memorial Day, some have read all five. Each year we have new voices that join in to make this memorial possible. One of the areas we have experienced a shortage was in people coming down to listen and remember.
Those that have, without exception, say what a moving experience it was for them and that they were glad our community holds such a memorial. Some learn about the event the day AFTER the reading and say they wish they would have known about it.
In past years this unique memorial was listed in various event sections [of the paper], but we had been unable to get more printed press coverage prior to the event, when it is most needed. That was until you made the time to research and write an article for the Source, featuring it prominently and even giving it front-page space. I really want to thank you for your effort. I have to say I was a little concerned about some of the content (mention of my activism work) because of my commitment to keeping the event totally apolitical. The purpose for this is that the memorial is not about any of the volunteers, myself included, or our political beliefs. Its sole purpose is to remember those soldiers who have died in these two wars. On Memorial Day, we are afforded a time to remember them. But all in all, the article was wonderful. Thank you for talking with some of the volunteers and to Dick Tobiason of Band of Brothers.
I wanted to let you know that your efforts really helped get the word out this year BEFORE the event. While the numbers attending were still on the lighter side, for a city the size of Bend, we did see a noticeable increase, I want to sincerely thank you and the Source for being good community members and helping out! You get the Glass Slipper!