Memorial Day Observance at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site Honors Vancouver's Military on May 29

Two costumed volunteers portraying Civil War-era soldiers.
The Memorial Day Observance and Soldiers' Bivouac at Fort Vancouver NHS will honor Vancouver's military and history.

NPS Photo

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News Release Date: May 17, 2017

Contact: Larry J. Smith, Co-Chair, Community Military Appreciation Committee, 360-910-8656

Contact: Bob Cromwell, Chief of Interpretation, Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, 360-816-6253

The Community Military Appreciation Committee (CMAC) will present Vancouver's Memorial Day Observance Monday, May 29, 2017, at 11 am, at the Bandstand on the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site Parade Ground. CMAC has organized this event with help from its partners: the City of Vancouver, National Park Service (NPS), Fort Vancouver National Trust, Armed Forces Reserve Center, Waste Connections, and 40 et 8.

The event features keynote speaker Colonel Duke A. Pirak, the commander of the 142nd Fighter Wing, Oregon Air National Guard, Portland.

The ceremony is also scheduled to include the dedication of the 80-foot reconstructed garrison flagstaff on the Vancouver Barracks Parade Ground, which is located in the national park. The flagstaff will be dedicated to honor American servicemen and women from Clark County who have given their lives in service of their country. This National Park Service project has been two years in the making, requiring historical research and archaeological testing and excavation to determine the historic location of the flagstaff prior to installation. This project was made possible through a number of community partners who worked with the NPS, including the Fort Vancouver Lions, the Vancouver Metro Sunset Rotary Club, CMAC, the Friends of Fort Vancouver, and the City of Vancouver.

Fort Vancouver National Historic Site Superintendent Tracy Fortmann said, "The National Park Service is proud to bring this iconic, highly visible feature back to Vancouver Barracks, and the flagstaff will surely become an important public and community venue in the national park. We greatly appreciate the support of our partners who chose to step forward to help us make the flagstaff a reality." Fortmann added, "I am honored to serve our community in recreating this critical element of our past. The restored flagstaff will undoubtedly assist us in better understanding and connecting with our 19th and 20th century military history, which helped shape our city, region, and nation."

As of now, it is anticipated that the ceremony will also include the raising of a garrison flag as part of the dedication. As NPS Facility Manager Alex Patterson shared, "The maintenance crew at the national park is responsible for maintaining a wide variety of historic structures and, sometimes, reconstructing unique and historically accurate buildings and features. This project was a complex one in that we had to pull together soil engineers, engineers from the flag pole manufacturer, and a variety of local trades to get this work completed within a tight time frame. Barring any unforeseen difficulties with shipping, the flagstaff will be installed and operational by the Memorial Day event."

Retired Army Colonel Larry J. Smith will be the Master of Ceremonies. Speakers at the event will include Superintendent Fortmann, Vancouver Mayor Tim Leavitt, Board of Clark County Councilors Council Chair Marc Boldt, and U.S. Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler. Vancouver Police Officer Rey Reynolds will sing the National Anthem. There will be a dove release and color guards, as well as military medleys played by the 204th Army Band. Complimentary hot dogs and light lunch items will be available to the public, courtesy of the Vancouver Lions, Red Cross Cascades Region, and the Military Officers Association of America.

C-Tran busses #25, 32, and 37 will provide transportation directly to the Bandstand that day. Parking is available at Hudson's Bay High School, where attendees may ride a C-Tran shuttle to and from the event site.

There will be a National Park Service Soldiers' Bivouac re-enactment on the Parade Ground after the ceremony until 3 pm. This re-enactment will showcase costumed volunteers portraying many periods in the site's military history. Additionally, the Vancouver Barracks Military Association will display antique military vehicles.

CMAC is an all-inclusive group composed of members representing youth, education, civic, military, veterans groups, and local governments. CMAC executes and plans community-wide events, such as Memorial Day, Veterans Day, Our Community Salutes, and POW/MIA Day ceremonies, as well as recognition and support of military families of all services. Learn more about CMAC at

What: Memorial Day Observance, flagstaff dedication, and Soldiers' Bivouac re-enactment

Where: Vancouver Barracks Parade Ground and Bandstand

When: May 29, 2017, at 11 am

Cost: Free

Historic image of flagstaff near Officers' Row
This detail from a lithograph printed ca. 1855 shows the Vancouver Barracks flagstaff located on the Parade Ground, opposite Officers' Row. The reconstructed flagstaff will be dedicated at the Memorial Day Observance on May 29.

NPS Photo

Last updated: May 17, 2017

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