Memorial Day tribute honors those who served

A big crowd turned out on a beautiful Memorial Day to pay tribute to Maple Lake’s veterans. “We are here to honor the memory of those who have given their lives for our country,” said American Legion Commander Gary Jude, who coordinated the program at the Veteran’s Memorial at the city park on Monday.

A parade, which included the first appearance of the Maple Lake Marching Band in their new uniforms, traveled from the Legion Club to the park for the ceremony that included prayers offered by Rev. Steven King, and readings of “Freedom is Not Free,” and “The Dash Between the Dates,” by Girls and Boys State representatives Katie Haegele and Ed Elfmann. Musical selections by the band, under the direction of instructor Tony Mazzone, featured “The Star Spangled Banner,” and “God Bless America.”

Lt. Commander Scott Parrish of Eagan presented the Memorial Day address, first reading a message by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff which noted the sacrifices made by veterans, and in particular, the men and women currently serving in the Middle East.

Parrish talked about the meaning of Memorial Day and its impact on the families of those who have lost loved ones in war.   “To those who have known that loss and felt that absence, Memorial Day gives formal expression to a very personal experience,” Parrish said. “Their losses can be marked, but not measured. We can never measure the full value of what was gained by their sacrifice. We live it every day in the comforts of peace and the gifts of freedom. These have all been purchased for us.”

A wreath was put in place by VFW Auxiliary President Rose Wurm to commemorate the Unknown Soldiers. Legion member John McAlpine read the list of deceased veterans, followed by VFW member Cliff Hudek reading the list of Maple Lake servicemen killed in action as members of local Girl and Boy Scout troops helped place flags for each name on a wooden cross. The program ended with a salute delivered by the Legion Firing Squad and a closing prayer by Rev. King.

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