The Oregon State Capitol Galleria - Salem, OR
History was made when TriWest’s Visions of Valor was proudly displayed (for the first time in the Pacific Northwest) in Salem, Oregon. Junior ROTC cadets, along with military, political and business leaders, proudly welcomed Medal of Honor recipients Bob Maxwell and Tommy Norris for an opening ceremony in the Capitol’s Galleria.
Major General Raymond F. Rees, the Adjutant General of the Oregon National Guard, welcomed attendees, followed by Central Oregon Junior ROTC cadets, who presented the colors and led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Guest speaker and Medal of Honor recipient Bob Maxwell, a communications technician during World War II received his medal for selflessly protecting a strategic American command post from a grenade attack. Maxwell, a resident of nearby Bend, Oregon, is a frequent speaker to high school history classes and Junior ROTC cadets. During the opening, he shared how his faith had often helped him persevere in difficult times.
— Dave K., Salem, OR
Medal of Honor recipient Tommy Norris spoke next, describing how proud he was to be in the presence of America’s future military leaders. A retired Navy SEAL, Norris received his Medal of Honor for his integral role in the rescuing of two downed airmen during the Vietnam War. He was visibly moved as he offered the cadets his unwavering support.
Ryan Ruark, a high school senior and executive officer of the Navy Junior ROTC in La Pine, Oregon, delivered a stirring speech about the importance of heroes. He then introduced someone he called his hero, a friend who had just enlisted with the Marines. It also delighted the 125 attendees to learn that Ruark had recently applied to the Naval Academy.
The honorable Greg Walden, the U.S. Congressman representing Oregon’s second district also spoke about the Medal of Honor and the pride it brings to his state. Oregon is attributed with 13 Medal of Honor recipients in its history. Pillars surrounding the Capitol building are dedicated to each of those 13 recipients, including Arthur Jackson, the only living recipient from Oregon. An additional pillar includes the names of MOH recipients with other associations to the state.
The ceremony concluded with TriWest President and CEO David J. McIntyre, Jr., who expressed gratitude to the Medal of Honor recipients and all who serve our country in the armed services. "Thank you all for the example that you are to us today and for generations to come," he said.
The exhibit was on display in the Capitol Galleria throughout the month of November.