WORLD WAR II VETERANS HISTORIC HIGHWAY Dedication
On June 6, 2010, the 66th anniversary of D-Day, Sunriver Resort is extremely honored to host a group of WWII veterans as they gather for the official designation of the WORLD WAR II VETERANS HISTORIC HIGHWAY - 325 miles of Highway 97 and a portion of State Route 126.
The Highway will be designated by 19 signs installed near 8 WWII training sites, including Sunriver, which during WWII was a 5,500 acre combat and engineer replacement training center called Camp Abbot.
The 2pm ceremony will take place in the historic Great Hall, the original officers' mess hall that was built in 1944 by the Army Corps of Engineers. The public is invited to attend.
Thank you to all Oregon WWII vets for your service and sacrifice.
The full press release from the Bend Heroes Foundation is below:
Media release: Immediate
WORLD WAR II VETERANS HISTORIC HIGHWAY Dedication
On Sunday, June 6, the 66th anniversary of D-Day, a ceremony will be held at Sunriver’s Great Hall honoring WWII veterans and dedicating the WORLD WAR II VETERANS HISTORIC HIGHWAY. The public is invited. Sunriver is located 15 miles south of Bend.
The ceremony begins at 2:00 pm and is expected to draw hundreds of WWII veterans including survivors of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Iwo Jima invasion, D-Day invasion, Battle of the Bulge, the only WWII Medal of Honor recipient living in Oregon, and women who served in uniform during WWII. Brigadier General Charles L. Yriarte is the guest speaker.
Great Hall, a magnificent lodge style structure, was built by combat engineers when 90,000 trained at then Camp Abbot. Great Hall was dedicated thirty-eight days before D-Day. It is owned and operated by Sunriver Resort and is the perfect venue for honoring WWII veterans.
The WORLD WAR II VETERANS HISTORIC HIGHWAY is designated by 19 signs installed near 8 WWII training sites along 325 miles of US Highway 97 from Washington to California and a portion of State Route 126 between Redmond and Prineville.
The WWII highway signs project honors WWII veterans – those who served and those who were killed, wounded, became prisoner of war or missing in action during the war and those who live among us today. Approximately 3,000 WWII veterans reside near the two highways. The signs also educate the traveling public about vital WWII training made possible by the high desert highways.
The signs also display the names of the WWII facilities and the years of operation. The signs are installed near those WWII facilities at Biggs, Madras, Prineville, Redmond, Bend, Sunriver, and Klamath Falls, and the ends of the highways. They will be uncovered before June 6. Signs will also be unveiled at the June 6 ceremony. Attached is an image of a typical sign – overall size of an actual sign is 8 feet wide by 6 feet high.
All branches of the service trained near the highways: Army Engineers river crossings, Army Air Forces fighter pilot and heavy bomber flight crews, Army Combat Engineering, civilian pilot training, Navy combat air crews, and treatment of Marines with tropical diseases. The “Oregon Maneuver”, the largest of its kind in the Pacific Northwest, trained 100,000 soldiers across Central Oregon’s high desert. All of the airfields built to support WWII training are still in use today.
Flybys of Oregon Air National Guard F-15 fighters and a WWII Navy N3N biplane have been requested. A reception follows the salute to WWII veterans and highway dedications.
It is hoped the signs will cause travelers to reflect on the sacrifices made by the “Greatest Generation” now at an average age of 84. Eight five percent (85%) of our nation’s 15.7 million veterans who survived WWII have passed from our midst since the end of that war sixty-five years ago.
Attached is Governor Kulongoski’s tribute to Oregon’s WWII veterans and the newly designated highways when he signed Senate Bill 449 in Bend on July 15, 2009.
The signs project was funded by donations from more than thirty generous groups and individuals and “In Kind” services. Donors and partners will be recognized at the ceremony. Bend Heroes Foundation manages the project.
This cooperative Oregon Department of Transportation – Bend Heroes Foundation project resulted from a request made to the Oregon legislature by the WWII Veterans Historic Highway Committee. All State Senators and Representatives with Districts encompassing the highways and who also co-sponsored the legislation have been invited to the ceremony.
Highway 97 is also known as a Blue Star Memorial Highway and the Dalles-California Highway. Those names are not changed by the new “honorary” designation honoring WWII veterans and preserving WWII history.
Someone must speak for WWII veterans and that honor has fallen to all of us.
The program for the June 6 ceremony will be available on June 4.
Dick Tobiason 541 388-5591 cell 541 390-9932
LTC US Army Retired
President, Bend Heroes Foundation
Chairman, WWII Veterans Historic Highway Committee
Peter Murphy, ODOT Bend 541 388-6224
Chris Harrison, Sunriver Resort 541 593-7972
LTC Lance McCuiston, Oregon Air National Guard 541 885-6310