CL soldier serves in Monday ceremony


News staff writer

May 24, 2006

Hood River County’s Memorial Day ceremony begins at 9:45 a.m. on Monday and includes a Cascade Locks soldier who is recovering from wounds sustained in Iraq.

Army Private First Class Nolan Howell closes the event by placing a poppy wreath at the base of the Veterans Cenotaph. A member of the Hood River Valley High School band will play Taps during this exercise.

Prior to that action, Howell will read off the names of three new additions to the Walk of Honor. Plaques listing these individuals have been added to the 51 already installed along the cement path.

Veterans Service Officer Linda Adams established the Walk of Honor in 2001 as a tribute to military personnel lost at sea or with ashes scattered in other locations.

Howell, 21, was injured during the early morning hours of April 8 when his military unit in Iraq came under enemy fire. The Army medic underwent two major surgeries that same day to remove shrapnel that had penetrated the bicep of his right arm and lodged in his chest. He also sustained wounds to the right side of his torso, including his shoulder, face and neck.

Howell, who was awarded the Purple Heart for his battlefield injuries, is recovering at home with his wife, Katani, and son Braedan.

His father, Rev. Don Howell from Cascade Chapel Assembly of God Church, will provide the invocation and benediction at the beginning and end of the service.

The 2006 program opens with the historical parade from the south side of Down Manor through the north gate into the cemetery. Brookside Drive will close temporarily to traffic for crossing by veterans, auxiliary members, representatives from community organizations and residents.

Hood River Mayor Linda Streich then takes the podium about 10 a.m. as Mistress of Ceremonies and introduces other participants. She will also announce the names of service groups, businesses and individuals providing floral tributes to honor members of the armed forces.

The keynote speaker will be retired Army Command Sgt. Gerald Schleining. When he stepped down from 24 years of active duty in 1987, Schleining was at the highest possible enlisted rank. The highly decorated soldier, who resides in Gresham, then went to work on behalf of military personnel as the Department of Oregon Veterans Service Officer for the American Legion.

Included on the program roster is the band, which will play the National Anthem and other patriotic selections. A rifle salute will be given by Honor Guard of the Hood River National Guard Armory.

The Guard, Legion and Veterans of Foreign Affairs are once again setting up the traditional World War II field memorial. The rifle with a pair of empty boots and helmet is reminiscent of markers that were put in by mass graves on the battlefields of Europe.

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