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On D-Day, Oregon Dedicates World War II Memorial

In Oregon, D-Day meant the dedication of a long-awaited memorial honoring World War II veterans. Hundreds turned out for a ceremony Friday on the 70th anniversary of the Allied invasion of Western Europe.

As a military band played, World War II veterans and their family members crowded onto the grounds of the state capitol to mark the dedication of a memorial that's been years in the making. It features a 33-foot tall obelisk. Granite walls on two sides are engraved with the names of the roughly 3,800 Oregonians who died in combat during World War II.

Art James of Salem said he attended on behalf of his 99-year-old father, who commanded an infantry landing craft in both Europe and the Pacific. James said the memorial is a great tribute to his father's generation.

"It's just really important to keep in mind the sacrifice that those that fought for our freedom in this country have made in the past," James said.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs estimates there are just over 50,000 World War II vets still living in Oregon, Washington and Idaho. Nationally, more than 500 are estimated to pass away every day.