For one hour on Thursday, a 40-foot piece of history visits Hood River.
A marble section of the new Oregon World War II memorial passes through Hood River en route to Hillsboro for engraving.
From there it goes to its resting place, on the State Capitol Park in Salem.
The stone will be on display at noon Thursday at The History Museum of Hood River County, located on Portway Avenue next to the Hood River marina. (It could arrive as early as 11:30 a.m., and is scheduled to remain until about 1 p.m.)
Oregon is one of six states without a permanent memorial to World War II, and that will change as early as next summer. The memorial will be completed as early as summer 2013, certainly by Veterans Day 2013, according to Tim Bronleewe of the Oregon World War II Memorial Foundation.
The marble section will stop in The Dalles for an hour at 9 a.m. Thursday at the Oregon Veterans Home before coming to Hood River.
The tour is intended to give veterans who might not be able to go to Salem next year a chance to see a portion of the memorial while they have a chance.
“We are losing World War II veterans every day,” Bronleewe said. “If our veterans can’t come to Salem, at least they can be a part of it now. This lets them know how much we appreciate their service to their country.”
To learn more about the memorial project, go to:
The slab that visits Hood River will be one of two that makes up an 80-foot black granite wall, to be engraved with all Oregon veterans of the 1939-45 conflict.
The memorial was commissioned six years ago, and fundraising continues.
“There is a lot of work to be done on the capital grounds to make it ready for the memorial,” Bronleewe said.
The 75-by-75 mall area will contain a carved image of the world map on the floor in front of the walls and a 33-foot gray granite obelisk, representing Oregon as the 33rd state.
Bronleewe calls the memorial and its storyboards “a very educational tool,” about a critical period in the 20th century, and said it will be embellished with 21st century technology.
QR code medallions will be imbedded in the granite, enabling people to use portable devices to learn more about World War II.
“Our whole goal is to educate people on what took place, and the sacrifices that Oregonians made,” Bronleewe said.
Storyboards on the mall will describe the battles and events of World War II as well as what was going on in Oregon shipyards, victory gardens “and all the home front activities,” Bronlewee said.