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The Camas Mill and Memorial Day

Today I placed a flag at Camas’ little-known memorial to mill workers who never came home from World War II. It’s tucked away near Division and 6th. It has an interesting story that was told in a Columbian article.

As a civilian for the Navy who worked side by side with active duty service members of all branches and ranks, Memorial Day has a deep meaning. Iremember a female officer in San Diego who learned her husband, a Navy pilot, had crashed and died in an accident. It gets very personal. I heard many stories over 32 years.

Now for the Camas story. A daughter of a mill worker who perished in WW II was visiting and paid her respects to the memorial, only to find it in terrible shape, possibly beyond repair. A note to the City was not just answered, but a city employee, Ryan Hickey, stopped what he was doing and spent two days researching the proper way to restore bronze, and did a superb job saving it.

Last year, the mill asked the City if they would take ownership of the memorial, and the city accepted. After some discussion, a spot in Crown Park was found and the massive monument will be moved.

Having attended numerous military ceremonies, and understanding the sanctity of a service member’s memorial, I asked and volunteered to see if we could get a formal ceremony perhaps with a color guard.

I try to understand fresh the wounds in Camas must have been in 1947 when this memorial was erected overlooking the mill. There were only 4,700 people living here all living close to the mill. Nearly 8 decades later it should not just be a move. It should be a reminder of their sacrifice, and the goodness of the mill to honor them with a beautiful memorial.

This memorial was almost lost. Thankfully our skilled city staff saved it. Let’s never let that happen again, and make sure these men and women are properly acknowledged when their memorial is moved.

That’s what I think. What do you think?

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