Emmons veterans memorial unveiled

Published 5:54 pm Monday, May 29, 2023

EMMONS — A large crowd witnessed the unveiling of the new veterans monument in Emmons Monday afternoon at the center of the veterans park along U.S. Highway 69.

Clair “Dag” Dagestad, president of the Emmons Veterans Memorial Committee, thanked community members for their support of the project, which has been underway since 2018.

“This is a humbling experience for me,” Dagestad said as he looked out over the large crowd.

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The park also includes three flag poles with the United States, Minnesota and POW flags, and silhouettes of service members on the corners of the park.

Aside from the monument itself, a major highlight at the park will be the display of a decommissioned vintage Bell UH-1 Iroquois utility helicopter from the Vietnam War, also known as a Huey helicopter, that was purchased and transported to Emmons in December.

Dagestad recognized the other members of the committee, who have helped make the veterans park a reality, including Larry Rasmusson, Paul Hensche, Mark Heggestad and Jerry Thompson, and said more work is to come.

The monument, which was unveiled by Purple Heart recipients Al Larson and Gary Honsey, features over 400 area veterans dating back to the Civil War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam War all the way up to Desert Storm, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. New names will likely be added once a year.

“We’ve worked long and hard to get this monument just the way we wanted,” Hensche said.

First District American Legion Vice Chairman Cole Wilcox said the veterans park will be a place where people can come to remember both the good times and bad, noting it will garner visitors year-round.

With the monument complete, the committee will next work to have the helicopter fixed and mounted and to add sidewalks and landscaping.