Residents gather to recognize county’s veterans

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 12, 2002

A bugle echoed through the gloomy November sky in Albert Lea on Veterans’ Day. Veterans and their families gathered to honor those who served and those who lost their lives. The terrorist attacks last year and possible war with Iraq now urge the 3,700 veterans in the county to reconfirm their pledge to defend the nation and freedom.

The participants marched from the American Legion to the courthouse, where they hoisted the Stars and Stripes and P.O.W. flag. Guards fired their guns three times to salute servicemen.

In the courtroom, County Administrator Ron Gabrielsen, who served in the Air Force for 20 years, spoke.

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Gabrieslen, a Chicago native, enlisted in 1968 after graduating from high school. He said the military gave him a chance to pursue higher education degrees, including a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Oklahoma. But, more importantly, it exposed him to work with different people and gave him the chance to learn from them.

Referring his first experience sharing a barracks with an African-American, Gabrielsen said, &uot;The military taught me there is no difference of what color of skin we have, what religion we believe and what ethnic background we are from. Everybody loves home … everybody wants to keep the way of life we have.&uot;

Disabled American Veterans Commander Fred Stein, who hosted the ceremony, said, &uot;We’ve got thousands of veterans in Freeborn County. They did their duty honorably and got honorable discharges. We have to remember them all.&uot;