Events slated to honor the fallen on Memorial Day
Published 8:00 pm Friday, May 26, 2023
There are several opportunities for people to honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice during ceremonies on Memorial Day in the area.
Members of veterans groups will start the day with ceremonies at three area cemeteries.
From 8 to 8:15 a.m., they will visit Lakewood Cemetery, followed by St. Theodore Catholic Cemetery at 8:15 a.m. Then, they will stop at Hillcrest Cemetery at 8:45 a.m. before a flag-raising ceremony and salute to the colors at 9:15 a.m at the Freeborn County Courthouse at the corner of South Broadway and East College Street.
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From 10 to 10:15 a.m. will be the wreath drop ceremony on Fountain Lake, followed by the Memorial Day program from 11 a.m. to noon at Graceland Cemetery.
Veterans of Foreign Wars 447 Cmdr. Bob Sharp said this year’s guest speaker is Jack Wittkopp, of Austin, who is retired with the U.S. Army, and there will be the traditional laying of the wreaths ceremony by representatives from Albert Lea veterans organizations, the Minnesota National Guard, Gold Star parents Don and Deb
Goodnature and a POW-MIA representative. There will also be music, a volley fire by the American Legion and VFW Honor Guard and flag-raising ceremonies.
In case of rain, the ceremony will be moved to the Marion Ross Performing Arts Center.
The program will be broadcast live on KATE Radio for people who are unable to attend in person.
This year’s ceremonies are organized by the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 447.
“Memorial Day is a sacred day, and it’s only to remember a certain bunch of people — and that’s all the men and women who gave their lives in defense of this country,” Sharp said. “It’s a special day just made for them — for the veterans who died defending this country and your rights.”
He encouraged people who have never attended a Memorial Day service, or who have lost track of what Memorial Day is all about, to attend one of this year’s events.
“It’s one day that you should take a moment or an hour to go and see what it’s really about,” Sharp said.
Sharp thanked the community for their donation for the Avenue of Flags at the city’s cemeteries. Thanks to the contributions, all of the flagpoles have been refurbished and repainted.
“We’re pretty proud of the way they look now,” Sharp said.
Following the program at Graceland Cemetery, there will be a free Memorial Day lunch for all active duty, National Guard, Reserves, retirees and veterans at the Albert Lea Legion, 142 N. Broadway. Please bring your DD214, DOD ID card or VA card for verification.
The cost for the meal is $6 donation for everyone else.
Other Memorial Day ceremonies
A Memorial Day ceremony will be at 9 a.m. Monday in Hollandale.
People should bring a lawn chair. In case of rain the service will be held at the Christian Reformed Church.
American Legion Post 226 will hold a Memorial Day Program beginning at 9 a.m. Monday. The program will be held at Cross of Glory Church In Hartland.
The featured speaker will be Jeff Dahlen, Freeborn County veterans service officer. The program will also include patriotic music by the NRHEG band. A light lunch will follow the program.
The event is hosted by the Cross of Glory Altar Guild.
Members of Emmons American Legion Post 317 will make their traditional visits to eight nearby cemeteries on Monday morning. The group will assemble at 8:30 a.m.and will leave for the cemeteries at 8:45 a.m.
The schedule is as follows: Lime Creek Synod, 9 a.m.; Lime Creek, 9:15 a.m.; Oak Lawn, Emmons, 9:30 a.m.; Silver Lake, 9:50 a.m.; St. James Catholic, 10:45 a.m.; Lunfer, 11; Brush Hill, 11:15 a.m.; and Bear Lake, 11:30 a.m.
At noon at the Emmons Veterans Memorial, at the corner of U.S. Highway 69 and Main Street there will be a dedication and salute to the new veterans monument in place and display with the helicopter. Purple Heart recipients Al Larson and Gary Honsey will unveil the monument. American Legion 1st District Vice Chairman Cole Cox and Ryan Henkel, pastor of Emmons Lutheran Church, will be the speakers.