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Memorial Day 2024

Carlton County remembers

While some people worked in their gardens, rode four-wheelers or frolicked at the lake, members of honor guards and local veterans organizations made their way from cemetery to cemetery Monday, honoring the dead on Memorial Day with taps and rifle salutes.

At Veterans Park in Cloquet, the last stop for the Cloquet Combined Honor Guard and company, a crowd of nearly 150 people of all ages gathered for a short program on a day set aside to honor the men and women who died while serving in the military.

There were prayers, more rifle salutes, speeches, songs, and drums. The American flag was raised, after flying at half-staff from sunrise until noon, in honor of the nation's war dead.

Retired Col. James P. Nelson, U.S. Army Special Forces, spoke of the special faith that keeps a soldier going, and the litany of wars. He also shared the poem "In Flanders Fields" written by John McCrae.

"We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie,

In Flanders fields."

In this second verse, McCrae states simply how swiftly the transition from life to death can be, particularly in war.

While Nelson did not glorify death in battle during his speech Monday, he acknowledged, using his own words and others, that the fight can be necessary.

"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction," Nelson said. "We did not pass it on to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same. We cannot escape that. I guess that is how I see national meaning in our remembrance of those who gave it their all."

After the program, veterans hosted a meal at the VFW, with food served by members of Scout Troop 171.