Festive event, somber remembrance

Military museum wraps up Festival of Trees, prepares for memorial wall

Nov. 28, 2018 — The Oregon Coast Military Museum (OCMM) opened in 2015 as a tribute to coastal veterans who have served America as members of the United States Armed Forces. The 3,000-foot facility took many years to go from idea to functioning museum, from funding and construction through opening and becoming the premier tribute to veterans on the Oregon Coast.

None of the workshops, guest speakers or military related presentations offered by OCCM would be possible without the financial support of the Florence community.

To that end, the museum held one of its most important yearly fundraisers, the Festival of Trees, this weekend at the Florence Events Center.

According to OCMM Executive Director Cal Applebee, Attendance was high for the two-part event, with the purchase of pre-decorated trees and wreaths strong.

“We had a great weekend. Saturday was a big hit with the face painting, rock painting and Santa and Mrs. Claus for kids,” he said. “We sold several wreaths and table-top trees, and this year also had the public vote for their favorite tree. Nearly 600 votes were turned in.”

Applebee has been involved with the Festival of Trees since it began six years ago. He said he is greatly appreciative of the support the community provides, on an ongoing basis, to the museum, especially through its large-scale fundraisers.

The Festival of Trees has two major elements. The first is the auction and sale of spectacular trees and wreaths — all donated, designed and assembled by numerous businesses and individuals that want to share something they made with other community members.

The second component of the fundraiser is an upscale dinner with tables purchased for the event by local sponsors and businesses. Both of these elements generate money and contributions that are combined to determine the total raised for the event.

“Sunday’s gala event was huge success. We enjoyed a more personal touch this year with a speaker from Sandpoint, Idaho, touching on his two cross-country marathons, where he placed ‘One Flag — One Mile — One Life’ in honor of our fallen soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan,” Applebee said. “Dust hasn’t settled on revenues and expenses, but it was definitely one of our more successful events. Folks are already talking about next year.”

OCCM is open year-round for people to view the extensive collection of artifacts from the Civil War forward, with additional materials, letters, official papers and newspaper accounts on display to enhance the viewer’s understanding of the artifacts and the person who donated the item.

Throughout the year, OCMM presents military-themed events for the purpose of recognizing the contributions made by veterans in the community to all Americans. The next event seeks to honor all of Oregon’s veterans.

The museum will be presenting the Oregon Memorial Traveling Wall Project on Pearl Harbor Day, Friday, Dec. 7.

Applebee is pleased the OCCM is able to bring the Wall Project to Florence.

Sponsored at the museum by Three Rivers Casino Resort, the memorial wall is a project of Umpqua Valley Chapter 805 of the Vietnam Veterans of America. The Wall contains six panels which are engraved with the names of fallen Oregonian military personnel. Created to resemble the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C., the black center panels display the names of those from the state lost in Vietnam and on the USS Pueblo. There are also panels on both sides of the display with the names of Oregonians lost in Panama, the bombing of Beirut, Desert Storm, Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.

“If someone has ever heard, or recalls, how our nation’s Vietnam Vets were treated when they returned home, its long over-due to honor them now with more respect,” Applebee said. “Even though we’re displaying this on Pearl Harbor Day, the day that launched our nation into World War II, it helps punctuate the fact that our focus at the museum is to honor all eras of military heritage and all disciplines of military service. We’re bringing two iconic elements of that heritage together.”

The Oregon Memorial Traveling Wall is a living Memorial that will annually be updated with the names of our fallen in any future conflict.

The Oregon Memorial Traveling Wall will be available for viewing from noon to 4 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 7, 8 and 9, at OCMM, 2145 Kingwood St. in Florence.

Admission will be free of charge on all three days to all who attend.

For more info, visit oregoncoastmilitarymuseum.com.

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