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Holiday events scheduled throughout the weekend

Throughout Memorial Day weekend, residents will gather at local ceremonies, events and at grave sites to honor veterans who have died in American wars.

Memorial Day dates back nearly 145 years, when Decoration Day was established on May 30 to encourage Americans to decorate the graves of soldiers killed during the Civil War.

By the end of the 19th century, Memorial Day ceremonies were being held throughout the nation, and state legislatures passed proclamations designating the day. It wasn't until after World War I that the day was expanded to honor those who have died in all American wars.

In 1971, Memorial Day was declared a national holiday by an act of Congress, and it was placed on the last Monday in May.

The following is a list of events scheduled Memorial Day weekend:

The third annual Mill Creek Memorial Veterans Festival, featuring fun runs, a parade, bed races and more, is planned from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, May 26, in downtown Prospect.

The festival, which is a fundraiser for veterans organizations, begins at 7:30 a.m. with a Cougar Fun Run of five- and 10-mile distances.

The parade starts at 10 a.m., followed by the Bed Races, a flag retirement ceremony and a moment of silence for a fallen vet.

There'll also be live music, a Kids Camp with games, craft and food booths and a horseshoe tournament. All proceeds will go to assist local veterans. For more information, call 541-531-8307 or 541-621-2374.

  • Memorial Day Meet and Greet: Volunteers from Friends of Jacksonville's Historic Cemetery will be available to help visitors locate the grave sites of family and friends from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday and Monday at the cemetery, located off Cemetery Road. See www.friendsjvillecemetery.org or call 541-826-9939.
  • Oregon Fallen Heroes Memorial: U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden and retired U.S. Navy Capt. Mike Oliver will speak at a Memorial Day commemoration at 9 a.m. Monday at the Oregon Fallen War Heroes Memorial in Don Jones Park, Central Point. The hourlong ceremony will include a prelude of bagpipe music, an invocation, a flag ceremony and the national anthem and "God Bless America," sung by Sherry Parker. Call 541-664-3321 or see www.centralpointoregon.gov.
  • Ashland Observance: Members of the Southern Oregon Concert Band and Valley of the Rogue New Horizons Band will kick off Ashland's annual Memorial Day remembrance at 10:30 a.m. Monday at Mountain View Cemetery, 440 Normal Ave., Ashland. The service will begin at 11 a.m. with comments by commanders of the American Legion and Ashland Veterans of Foreign Affairs.

This year's keynote speaker, Joe Brett, operations and client-relations director for Rogue Valley Community Television, will talk about his older brother, Capt. Robert A. Brett Jr., also known as "Lefty," who graduated at the top of his class from a U.S. Air Force flight school. Sadly, Robert Brett never returned from his first combat mission in 1972 out of Thakli Air Force Base in Thailand.

Ashland High School junior Braedon Bell will sing the national anthem. Chairs will be provided. The ceremony will conclude at noon. Call 541-261-5867.

Eagle Point National Cemetery: U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, retired U.S. Marine Corps Col. Dave Dotterer and U.S. Army National Guard Sgt. Mark Dalton will speak at the Memorial Day ceremony set for 11 a.m. Monday at Eagle Point National Cemetery, 2763 Riley Road.

The program will include patriotic music by the Southern Oregon Scottish Bagpipe Band, a rifle salute, flag display and an advancement of colors by veteran-service organizations. "Taps" will be played by retired U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Al Zeller, and Brian Williams will sing the national anthem and "God Bless the USA."

An Oregon Air National Guard F-15 jet will fly over the event, along with World War II biplanes and helicopters. Students from Scenic Middle School in Central Point will place small, U.S. flags on nearly 17,000 grave sites. Call 541-826-2511.

uWhite City Parade: The 13th annual White City Memorial Day Parade will begin at 1:30 p.m. Monday along Antelope and Division roads to Burns Park. The parade theme is "A Simple Thank You," and this year's grand marshal will be a trolley carrying veterans from all branches of the military.

Other parade participants include a Jackson County sheriff's posse, classic cars, Boy Scouts, equestrian groups and military vehicles, to name a few. Food, games, live music, pony rides and a dunk tank will be available from 1 to 4 p.m. at the park. Call 541-261-9978 or 541-826-6010.