Herald JournalHerald and Journal, June 3, 2002

Memorial Day observances in the area


It was only appropriate that Memorial Day served as the homecoming for Major Cathy Bartholomew, USAF, the daughter of Joe and Janice Kieser of Winsted.

"It's even more of an honor when it brings you back home," Bartholomew said about speaking at the address. "Especially for Memorial Day, which is such an important occasion."

Memorial Day is a chance to continue tradition and remember those who have gone before us fighting for our country, Bartholomew said.

"Give homage regardless of the type or popularity of the war," she said.

Bartholomew used an analogy comparing the history of American veterans and the future of the US society.

"It can be likened to a tree," she said. "The roots are those of the past that defended and supported America, its allies, and our way of life.

"The trunk is the people of today. It's thriving because of the roots, and needed to support the military.

"The branches are today's military. It's also dependent on the trunk for survival, on the roots for strength, yet ready to take the blows that strike.

"And, the leaves. Leaves are like the blood that is shed. It adds to the very ground we walk on, and increases the roots so the rest of the tree can be stronger. Sept. 11 brought much blood at war."

Although it has been hard to find the positives of Sept. 11, this country has become stronger, there is more unity and support for American troops, more patriotism, and growth in US resolves for freedom and our way of life, she said.

Bartholomew asked the crowd to remember the 41 million people who served and defended our country throughout its history.

"They all sacrificed their hopes, dreams, and some, their lives.

"Don't take what we have for granted," she said.

Howard Lake and Waverly

The terrorist attacks of September 11 permeated both American Legion Memorial Day ceremonies at Waverly and Howard Lake.

Both ceremonies featured speakers who alluded to the deaths of 3,000 civilians, including 23 police men, 37 port authority officers, and 343 fire fighters during terrorist attacks in New York last year.

"On this day last year, we were a nation a peace," commented speaker Gary Whitcomb, a member of the Howard Lake Sons of the American Legion. "Now, we are a nation at war."

Waverly's featured speaker, Wright County Sheriff Mike Miller, indicated that before September 11, he would normally have had second thoughts about speaking at the Memorial service, since he is not a veteran himself.

However, the deaths of so many uniformed officers on that day persuaded him otherwise, he said.

Miller has a brother and father who served in the military.

Both speakers described terrorists as enemies who are not clearly defined. Miller described them as cowards.

"We are fighting a war without borders," noted Howard Lake Legion Commander Jerry Pettit.

Father Robert Wiley of St. Mary's parish in Waverly called upon everyone to return to prayer in order to stop killing in the name of killing.

Pastor Joel Swedberg made a reference to patriots who died for their neighbors.

The Sons of the American Legion from Howard Lake are offering replacement flags for a nominal fee to replace faded, torn, or soiled flags. Those interested may call (320) 543-2554.

Lester Prairie

Blue sky and sunshine accompanied Lester Prairie's Memorial Day services last Monday, allowing many to attend the program.

The parade from city hall included members of the Ray Kirkpatrick American Legion Post 463, the Lester Prairie Fire Department, the American Legion Auxiliary, the Lester Prairie Cub Scout troop, and the Lester Prairie High School band.

Remembrance was the message of featured speaker Roger Olson from the Hutchinson Post 96. He began his speech with an account he witnessed at the dedication of the McLeod County Veterans Memorial Park in Hutchinson Nov. 11, 2001.

A father, mother, and two children, a boy of about seven and a girl of about five, had located the children's grandfather's stone before the ceremony, Olson said. The father pointed it out to the kids and the family stood there for a few minutes and looked at it.

After awhile, the father said it was time to go. The boy stayed while the rest turned to leave. "Dad, I need your handkerchief," he said.

The father gave his son the handkerchief and the boy wiped off grandpa's paver.

"That's how grandma wants it," he said and left with the rest of his family.

"It's important to have these ceremonies, so those who have died will not be forgotten," Olson said.

"What were you thinking about during the 30 seconds of silence?" Olson asked the crowd.

"Perhaps a thought of the veterans here, or maybe of those who fight for us overseas, or the police and firefighters who lost their lives Sept. 11," Olson said.

Girls and Boys State representatives Starrla Matthews and Adam Foss were also present. Matthews read General Logan's Orders, and Foss read Lincoln's Gettysburg Address.

The band played "Star Spangled Banner," "America," and "America the Beautiful" during the program.

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