In Cannon Beach, a day of gratitude and remembrance

By Lyra Fontaine

The Daily Astorian

CANNON BEACH — Flowers in hand, families and veterans gathered on Fir Street Bridge Monday to remember those who lost their lives serving the country.

The American Legion Post 168 has organized a Memorial Day ceremony in Cannon Beach since the 1970s. “Today is a time to pause and reflect on just how much we owe others,” Post Commander Dan O’Reilly told the crowd. “Liberty is not free. Our sons and daughters have answered the call again and again. They have done this without regard for sex, race or religion. We are the melting pot. This is what makes us strong. Many have given their all ... for the freedoms we enjoy.”

This price, he added, has been paid in all corners of the world.

“We must be watchful that our leaders never commit our valuable resources to a cause that’s not necessary, because again, freedom is not free,” O’Reilly said. “The playing of taps tells those who have preceded us to rest, for their day is done. Rest in peace, my brothers and sisters. We have the watch. We have your legacy.”

He ended his oration with the U.S. Marine Corps motto “Semper fidelis,” or “Always faithful.”

Cannon Beach Community Church pastor David Robinson led a prayer honoring fallen veterans. “May they rest in peace and may your perpetual light shine upon them,” Robinson said.

Robinson issued a plea for justice for the oppressed and peace for all peoples so military sacrifice will not have been in vain.

“And may we never fail to remember the awesome cost of the freedom, which we enjoy here on this bridge and in this fine city,” Robinson said.

While taps were played, O’Reilly and those who served the country, whether retired or on active duty, raised their hands in salute. Others in the crowd placed their hands over their hearts.

Following the bugle call, families stepped forward to toss flowers into Ecola Creek from the Fir Street Bridge to remember loved ones who died in service.

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