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Oregonians Commemorate Veterans Day

<p>Members of the Portland State University ROTC battalion stand at attention on Veterans Day 2014.</p>

Members of the Portland State University ROTC battalion stand at attention on Veterans Day 2014.

Oregonians marked veterans day this year in many ways including parades, pancake breakfasts, and free admission to national forests.

The University of Portland, home to a Reserve Officer Training Corps battalion since World War II, marked the day with a candlelight vigil and and a morning ceremony.

Hundreds of cadets stood in formation wearing blue uniforms and stiff flight caps. A trumpeter played taps in front of a brick memorial inscribed with the names of 80 University of Portland alumni who died in military service.

Lieutenant Colonel Matthew Little directs the school's Army ROTC program, and served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Little said because there isn't a military base near Portland, the city's culture can feel a little foreign to him sometimes. He hopes people in Portland will strike up conversations with veterans like himself.

"We're all human, we're all approachable. Most of us have pretty good stories to tell. so I would try to take that first step," he said.

Little said Veterans Day is also a time to remember veterans' families, who share in the sacrifice and stress of military service.

"When I was in Iraq, I missed the birth of my daughter, and so I came home, and had to deal with that. It's a lot to miss, and there's always a period of adjustment," he said.

More than 300,000 veterans live in Oregon, and about 1,000 members of the Oregon National Guard are deployed to Afghanistan this year.

Copyright 2014 Oregon Public Broadcasting