Welcome home, heroes!

Published 10:31 am Thursday, May 3, 2012

Column: Thanks for Listening

Thanks you, soldiers of Albert Lea’s Delta Company and other returning members of the Minnesota National Guard.

Delta Company soldiers in Albert Lea wear the patch of the 34th Infantry Division, part of the Minnesota National Guard.

High school graduations will be going on in a few weeks, and with that is the promise of a bright future, with privileges and choices that will bring each graduate to his or her own aspirations.

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While walking down the aisle at commencement or attending all of the parties that signify accomplishment, stop and consider another group of high school students, who because of their bravery and their sacrifice have given you the greatest gift you will ever know: freedom.

With this gift they just want you to strive to do your best and to make the world a better place. These soldiers have given their lives so that the world could be a safer place for you.

Memorial Day is right around the corner and with our local troops due to be home any day, I would like to remind everyone that Memorial Day is a day set aside to honor these men and women who have given their lives in the fight for our freedoms. It is a day we remember the people who not only touched our own lives but protected our children’s future as well.

Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day, because it was a time set aside to honor the nation’s Civil War dead by decorating the graves of many valiant soldiers.

In 1971, Congress declared Memorial Day a national holiday to be celebrated on the last Monday in May. Each year at Arlington National Cemetery, a small American flag is placed upon each grave, and a wreath is laid on the tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Locally, we go to the cemeteries with fresh flowers in hand and unanswered questions on our minds.

Touching questions like, “If dad would have made it through the war, what did he want to be? Or, “Do you think he would be proud of the decisions that I made in my life?” These questions, like the wind, come and go, but on Memorial Day they seem to take center stage.

It is the one day you seem to relive the feeling of the hug and kiss you shared at the bus stop a lifetime ago, or the taste the apple pie you shared at the picnic shortly before they went away.

It is in these memories you capture your youth, and with that, the hope of a generation of young men and women trying to live up to, and honor the duty before them.

Freedom was what our soldiers fought and died for, and on the upcoming Memorial Day, please remember to use that same freedom to stop and honor these fine soldiers.


Support for Jaeger

I want to thank the team that raised money for Jaeger Venem last weekend. I stopped by Pub 69 for this great fundraiser, and when I turned the corner off of the highway I had a hard time seeing because I started to feel the tears welling up in my eyes.

The amount of vehicles and people really blew me away. It was one of those moments in life that, as Dr. Suess would say, made your heart grow three times larger. I love to see humanity at its best and let me tell you — that was it!

Please keep your thoughts and prayers going for this little man battling over in Rochester.


Tribune Publisher Scott Schmeltzer’s column appears every Thursday.