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Honoring veterans on Memorial Day is a group effort

As Memorial Day approaches, let’s be ever mindful of what it represents. Along with the cookouts and other get-togethers, remember it is a day set aside to honor our fallen veterans.

The planning of this year’s events started well before Memorial Day in Cloquet. Meetings were held at the VFW Hebert Kennedy Post 3979 and included the VFW, DAV Chapter 18, American Legion Post 262 and their Auxiliaries and the Fond du Lac Honor Guard. Planning included the placement of flags in the surrounding cemeteries and planning for the main ceremony at Veterans Park starting at 11:30 a.m. Monday.

Between 400 and 500 flags will be placed Saturday, May 27. The organizations will meet at the VFW, then spread out to cemeteries around town to place a flag at each veteran’s grave marker. We are assisted by teams we sponsor, as well as other volunteers from the community. It’s an honor to place the flags and very humbling to see a cemetery covered in flags once our day is done.

Keep in mind, the grave markers are all different, and we strive to not miss any veterans. We identify the marker by rank, a war listed, or a folded flag in order to know that it is where a veteran lies. If no designation of service is on the grave marker, we will not leave a flag. If you know a veteran whose marker lacks any service information, please contact your local county Veterans Service Office and they can let you know what steps to take to receive that designation on the stone.

On Memorial Day the Cloquet Combined Honor Guard and Auxiliaries head out to start the 10 services at 7:30 a.m. The first stop is in Sawyer, where we assemble with our flags, rifles and bugle to honor veterans and their families with a prayer; three rounds of rifle fire and taps is played. Then it is hurry up, roll up the flags and get on the bus bound for the next cemetery. We do this at nine cemeteries, culminating with our final service of the day at Veterans Park in Cloquet.

At Veterans Park, we begin our main program dedicated to our deceased veterans at 11:30 a.m. The program includes patriotic music, speeches and prayers, and the laying of wreaths in remembrance and dedication. Soloist Abrianna Smith will sing the national anthem and the FDL Cedar Creek Drum Corps will perform two songs. The Honor Guard and Auxiliary will again honor those we have lost with a raising of the flag at noon, another rifle volley, and Marine Bryce Moe will perform taps on his bugle.

At the end of the day, we will again be mindful and remember all we have accomplished in our day to show respect and appreciation for those we have lost, their families and our community.

Thank you for supporting our veterans!

Writer Susan Chassé is a member of the VFW auxiliary in Cloquet. Contact her c/o [email protected].

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