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May 30, 2012
We Remember . . .
Area held memorial day services Monday morning to remember our fallen war heroes
WESTBROOK, Minnesota (STPNS) -- Special — Walnut Grove Memorial day is a special day where we take time to decorate graves of our departed veterans and other family members.
Monday veteran’s organizations honored our fallen war comrades in small towns and cities across the country. Locally the tradition is found in almost every town where there is a veteran’s organization.
Monday morning the Walnut Grove American Legion Post and Auxiliary #267 held their Memorial Day ceremony at the WWG Elementary School at 9:30 a.m.
The post and auxiliary presented the colors followed by the elementary band playing the National Anthem. The Pledge of Allegiance was recited by everyone present.
The elementary band performed BB’s American Pride Suite under the direction of Thomas Vondracek.
Elementary Principal Paul Olson then introduced the speaker, Chaplain Lieutenant Colonel United States Army retired, Kenneth A. Haack. Haack currently serves as pastor of the Walnut Grove United Methodist Church.
Haack started his address by quoting a portion of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. “We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.”
Haack said, “ here today we honor the 2 million men and women who gave their lives to preserve freedom for their country.
We must also thank all of our military men and women who have served and are still serving. It is time to remember and honor them.”
He talked about not forgetting those who died in wars early in our countries history.
He quoted World War II Admiral Nemitz who said, “Uncommon valor is an uncommon virtue.”
We are also mindful that our country is engaged in war in Afghanistan, with men and women serving in other middle east country’s. We remember those who have given their lives fighting the war on terrorism.
“Memorial Day moves us to remember,” said Haack as he closed his talk.
Haack asked all veterans and members of the military to stand in recognition.
After the address the band played Dreams of Victory.
After retiring the colors everyone went outside to place wreaths on crosses to commemorate the various wars. The rifle squad then fired a salute prior to the playing of Taps and Echo.
In Westbrook the Westbrook VFW and American Legion and their Auxiliaries held a program at WWG High School at 10:30 Monday morning.
The legion and VFW posts advanced the colors, and the WWG High School band played the National Anthem under the direction of Brenda Derickson.
Reverend David Danner gave the invocation, followed by VFW commander, Dennis Phelps giving the Memorial introduction. Marlowe Nelsen then recited the VFW Prayer.
John Madson and Dennis Phelps read the roll call of fallen veterans of past wars as auxiliary members, Anita Phelps, and Agnes Vortherms placed wreaths on the grave.
Special music was performed by Veterans of the VFW and Legion singing two numbers.
John Madson then introduced the Memorial Day speaker, former WWG Superintendent Steve Kjorness
Kjorness talked about his father Everett Kjorness who served in World II . His father died while serving and is buried in Hawaii. Sixteen years later Kjorness visited his fathers grave site where he is buried along with 33,000 men and women that gave their lives in the Japanese raid on Pearl Harbor in December of 1941.
He said, “at his grave I silently stood and thanked him for his service.” More recently he was able to visit the grave again as his son Colonel Mark Kjorness and his wife were stationed there.
He talked about growing up in Minneota, and as a youngster his mother would tell him to stand tall when the Memorial Day parade made it’s way through town, “and we did.”
One time Kjorness was approached by a man at a meeting he was attending. He told him that he had served with “Dukee” (his dad’s nick name). “He told me about his duty and honor, your dad did not have to serve having a young family, but he chose to do it out of his patriotic duty to serve his country,” he said.
Kjorness talked about some of the hardships that some of the men who were captured endured in World War II prison camps in Burma.
A veteran named Harry Kelly told him as one of those prisoners he and his buddies did not die in vain — Kelly passed away at the age of 90 in 2010.
Some of those that served gave their lives in duty to their country — We thank all those that served and continue to serve today.
Following the address the band played a couple of selections.
Reverend David Danner gave the benediction and the colors were retired.
Following the service the legion and VFW went to the Westbrook Cemetery for a brief ceremony. A wreath was laid at the Veterans Memorial, followed by the rifle squad firing a salute and the playing of Taps.
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