Procession for veteran impacted many in area

Published 8:02 pm Monday, May 29, 2017

Nose for News, By Sarah Stultz

I decided at the last minute that I wanted to attend the procession through downtown Albert Lea last Thursday for the Emmons native who was killed aboard the USS Oklahoma in the attack on Pearl Harbor during World War II.

I didn’t know Glaydon Iverson and was not related to him at all, but that was beside the point. This 24-year-old sailor who died   75 years ago and was recently identified — gave his all for our country. I knew I would regret it if I didn’t attend.

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I wanted to show my support as a member of this community, and  a few hours before the procession was scheduled to be in town, I decided to make a live video on Facebook so others who couldn’t be there could watch it.

I sure am glad I went.

When I first arrived with my co-worker, I was pleased to see many others who came out to pay their respects. More and more people filled in the sides of Broadway near the Marion Ross Performing Arts Center and the American Legion in the minutes after I arrived.

A short while later, we heard someone say that the procession was down near the Albert Lea fire station and was heading our way.

Several veterans stood in uniform in front of the Legion ready to offer a salute.

As the hearse and the American Legion Riders and Patriot Riders aproached the Legion, the crowd of people became silent. Shortly after, the hearse carrying Iverson’s casket came to a stop in front of the Legion. The veterans offered their salute and then there was a moment of silence.

I could not believe how silent and respectful it was there in the middle of downtown Albert Lea as we all paid our respects to someone who gave the ultimate sacrifice — not only for his family and friends from his era but for all of us today, not only here in Freeborn County but also around the country.

It was a touching experience to be a part of — even if only from the sidelines.

The procession then continued south toward Emmons before arriving in Lake Mills where Mittlestadt Funeral Home is based.

The video of the part of the procession I witnessed in downtown Albert Lea has since reached almost 55,000 people online and has been shared more than 500 times.

What has been amazing in the hours and days that have followed is to see posts from other fire departments and motorcycle groups who also paid their respects in some other part of the journey of the procession from the airport down to Lake Mills.

I am proud to see how many community members came out to show their support in person and to offer kind words online.

Thank you to the Iversons for giving our community the opportunity to lend our support. Your loved one is truly a hero.

Sarah Stultz is the managing editor of the Tribune. Her column appears every Tuesday.