“We Are Oregon Veterans” Special 2016 Veterans Day Message

November 8, 2016

ODVA Pays Tribute to Four Generations of Veterans

In advance of upcoming Veterans Day celebrations, ODVA hosted a small gathering of Oregon veterans outside its Salem offices on Friday, Nov. 4, 2016, to honor their military service. Honorees, hailing from around the state and from within ODVA’s own ranks, represented collectively four generations of military service in five major eras of warfare spanning from WWII to the present-day wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

ODVA Director Cameron Smith, himself a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, said the gathering served as a reminder of the significant number and broad range of identities encompassed by the term Oregon veteran.

“We are one out of every 12 Oregonians, and we are a diverse community. We are men, and we are women. We are urban, and we are rural. We are young and aging. We are gay and straight, and every ethnicity and every creed.”

Below is the Veterans Day Message, in full:

Veterans’ Day is a reminder of the service and sacrifice of our fellow Americans who have raised their right hand and sworn to protect our freedoms.  Across Oregon, more than 326,000 veterans have served and many more continue to stand guard, serving in uniform today across the world.

We are one out of every 12 Oregonians, and we are a diverse community. We are men, and we are women. We are urban, and we are rural. We are young and aging. We are gay and straight, and we are every ethnicity and every religion. We are Oregon veterans.

Throughout the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs (ODVA) more than 70-year history, these Oregonians are the motivation for our work. We have witnessed generations of service members returning home and then using their hard-earned leadership skills and experience to significantly contribute to our communities.

Veterans like Jean Wojnowski, a 101 year-old U.S. Army nurse veteran who served in the South Pacific, caring for the wounded, including her brother U.S. Marine John Allison. After serving in the jungles of Papua New Guinea, Jean married Army soldier Charles Wojnowski and continued her service to others as a nurse and educator.

Across our team at ODVA, many of us are veterans and family members, and we continue to be inspired by our our military, veterans and their families every day. We are honored and privileged to serve them – not just on Veterans Day, but throughout the year.

This November 11th, there will be dozens of celebrations in communities across the state. From pancake feeds and to parades, to our state event at the Oregon WWII Memorial, you’ll find a great Veterans Day celebration near you: 2016 Statewide Veterans Day Events

In addition, ODVA publishes the Oregon Veteran Benefits Magazine as an excellent resource for all veterans and their families.

Thank you for your continued support of our veterans and their families across Oregon!

Semper fi,

csmith

Cameron Smith
Director

Cameron Smith served as a Captain in the U.S. Marine Corps, completing three tours of duty in Iraq.
He has served as the director of  the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs since 2013.