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Press Release
November 11, 2006
PHOTOS: Afghan-Iraqi Freedom Memorial dedication ceremony in Salem on Veterans Day
 
The Afghan-Iraqi Freedom Memorial was dedicated today in a ceremony on the grounds of the Oregon Veterans' Building in Salem.
 
Speakers included Governor Theodore R. Kulongoski, State Representative Donna Nelson, Director of Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs Jim Willis, and Oregon Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Raymond F. Rees.
 
The memorial will honor service members with Oregon ties who lost their lives during Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. According to Representative Donna Nelson, Oregon is the first state to create a memorial for service members lost during Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
 
Speakers at the dedication ceremony also included MJ and Clay Kesterson, parents of the late Chief Warrant Officer Eric Kesterson, the Kesterson's helped spearhead the creation of the memorial; John Bruning, author of "The Devil's Sandbox" a book about Oregon National Guard soldiers who served in Iraq; and combat veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Purple Heart recipient Sgt. 1st Class Vincent Jacques, who now helps service members transition back to civilian life after deployment as a member of the Oregon National Guard Reintegration.
 
In attendance at the dedication ceremony were many Gold Star families who have lost loved ones in Afghanistan and Iraq. Veterans of past and present conflicts were also on hand to witness the memorial dedication and unveiling ceremony.
 
A UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter from the Oregon National Guard's 1042nd Medical Company performed a flyover for the dedication ceremony.
 
 
Photos:
 
Photos by Spc. April L. Dustin, Oregon National Guard Public Affairs
 
IMG_9265:
Director of Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs Jim Willis speaks during the Afghan-Iraqi Freedom Memorial dedication ceremony Saturday while guest speakers, Oregon Governor Theodore R. Kulongoski and Oregon Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Raymond F. Rees, stand by.
 
IMG_9317:
MJ and Clay Kesterson, parents of the late Chief Warrant Officer Eric Kesterson, spoke at the memorial dedication ceremony Saturday and thanked the many volunteers who assisted with fund-raising and construction efforts to help make the Afghan-Iraqi Freedom Memorial possible.
 
IMG_9338:
State Representative Donna Nelson, a member of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs that wrote legislation for the Afghan-Iraqi Freedom Memorial, spoke during the dedication ceremony Saturday and read a letter of remarks from Congresswoman Darlene Hooley.
 
IMG_9396:
Clay Kesterson, father of the late Chief Warrant Officer Eric Kesterson, unveils a statue of a soldier overlooking the globe as part of the Afghan-Iraqi Freedom Memorial on the grounds of the Vetarans' Building in Salem during the memorial dedication ceremony on Saturday.
 
IMG_9407:
Clay Kesterson, father of the late Chief Warrant Officer Eric Kesterson, unveils a statue of a soldier overlooking the globe during the Afghan-Iraqi Freedom Memorial dedication ceremony Saturday on the grounds of the Vetarans' Building in Salem.
 
 
 
 
Contact Info:
 
Oregon National Guard Public Affairs
503-584-3917
 
Kay Fristad
503-931-5179
 
Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs
503-373-2386