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Dwight King of rural Brainerd poured water on new plants in an urn Wednesday at

Area Memorial Day services planned

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Crosslake Lutheran Church to host Memorial service

CROSSLAKE — Crosslake Lutheran Church will again host a community observance of Memorial Day at 10 a.m. Sunday at the Outdoor Worship Center located on Daggett Pine Road in Crosslake, across from the Crosslake Community Center baseball field.

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Col. Kevin Gerdes, chief of staff for the Minnesota National Guard and a 30-year military veteran, will be the guest speaker. He will also speak at the 8:30 a.m. worship service at Crosslake Lutheran Church that same morning. The church is located on Route 66 in downtown Crosslake.

The Memorial Day celebration will feature patriotic music; a bugler playing taps; a contingent of American Legion veterans led by Bob McPherson firing an honorary salute to the dead; and an aerial flyover by the North Star Squadron, a group of four fixed wing aircraft flown by experienced pilots who participate in air shows throughout the Midwest.

The leader of this squadron this year is Steve Knight, who has been an adviser to the Civil Air Patrol and now lives in Mission  Hill, S.D.

Veterans from World War II to the present will be honored. The theme of the day is “our continuing search for peace and goodwill among all people.” Those attending the ceremony may stay in their cars and listen to the service over the radio or sit outside on benches and chairs provided by the Outdoor Worship Center. Participants can bring lawn chairs and blankets.

Col. Gerdes joined the Minnesota Army National Guard in 1979. He attended St. John’s University and received his commission through ROTC as a Second Lieutenant in 1982. He earned a bachelor’s degree in management from Upper Iowa University and a masters degree in strategic studies in 2006 from the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pa. He is enrolled in the Doctorate of Leadership program at the University of St. Thomas.

Col. Gerdes served in a variety of positions during his career with the Minnesota National Guard, including executive officer and commander at the battery, battalion and Brigade level, as well as state personnel director for the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon program.

In 2004, while serving as commander of the 1st Battalion 151st Field Artillery in Montevideo, his battalion was deployed to Operation Iraqi Freedom where he earned a Bronze Star . After a 14-month tour in Iraq, he and his soldiers returned home in January 2006. Gerdes and his wife Mickey live in Mahtomedi. They have two sons attending college: Tyson, 22, and Patrick, 20.

Event to support military families begins Sunday at Cragun’s resort

This Memorial Day weekend, a military appreciation event, with support going to military families, begins Sunday at Cragun’s resort near Brainerd. 

The second annual Family Fun Days, a military appreciation event, begins at 11:30 a.m. with a Color Guard presentation and guest speaker Col. Scott St. Sauver, Camp Ripley post commander. 

These events will honor service members and their families with onsite military personnel from all branches of the service. Family Fun Day activities will run from noon to 3 p.m. and will include a silent auction fundraiser, food and beverage booths, Humvee rides, a rock climbing wall, bounce house, Patriot Guard drive-through, carnival games, balloon artists, face painters, and live music. All activities are open to the public.

The silent auction is from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. One hundred percent of donations from the silent auction go directly to the Minnesota Military Family Assistance Center. 

On Monday and Tuesday, veterans and their families may fish for free off Cragun’s docks or use a row boat. Veterans may golf for free and a Memorial Social gives service families complimentary coffee, cookies and sweets. 

“We’re pleased to show our support for our military services and their families,” said Dutch Cragun, resort owner, in a news release. “As a veteran of the Korean War myself, I know how important it is to be recognized for serving our country. Now that we are at war again, the sacrifices of military personnel and their families should not go unnoticed. That’s why our annual veterans appreciation programs have expanded last year to include a Family Fun Day for those dedicated family members left behind.” 

Memorial ceremony planned at State Veterans Cemetery

LITTLE FALLS — More than 1,200 people are expected to gather at State Veterans Cemetery, 15550 Hwy. 115, Little Falls, for the annual Memorial service Sunday.

An instrumental prelude by the Richfield Symphonic Band will begin at 1:30 p.m. and the traditional parade of flags will open the formal program at 2 p.m. Representatives from many veteran organizations, posts and auxiliary units will be carrying colors in the parade.

The keynote speaker is the Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs Larry Shellito. Commissioner Shellito is also a retired major general who served as adjutant general of the Minnesota National Guard before accepting his current position. This year’s parade marshal is Robert Mace, member of the Waite Park American Legion Post No. 428.

A placing of wreaths and the first public showing of the U.S. Army painting commissioned for the Veterans Educational Historic Project will also be featured at the event. Following the program, the Little Falls American Legion Auxiliary Unit will host a reception on site. In honor of Memorial Day, the Military Museum at Camp Ripley will also be open for visitors.

The program is sponsored by the Minnesota State Veterans Memorial Association. For more information on this event, visit www.mdva.state.mn.us.

Hackensack services planned

HACKENSACK — The Hackensack American Legion is hosting an early service at 1 p.m. Sunday at Finley Cemetery.

The Legion will then host Memorial Day service and a parade on Monday. The parade will stop at the city park at 9:30 a.m. before moving to Boy River to honor the Navy deceased.

Formal services are at Hillcrest Cemetery at 10 a.m.

Brainerd’s Memorial Day ceremony set for Monday at Evergreen Cemetery

Brainerd’s Memorial Day ceremony will begin at 8:30 a.m. Monday at the Laurel Street bridge. A wreath will be tossed into the Mississippi River. A prayer will be given by Pastor Matt McWaters with the firing of a rifle salute and taps being played by Gary Kechely.

There will be a short march to the All Veterans Memorial next to the Crow Wing County Courthouse.

In honor of veterans of the Bataan Death March, a brief ceremony will be conducted at the Bataan Memorial, next to the National Guard Armory on Wright Street with the placing of a wreath by veterans of the Bataan Death March and a prayer by McWaters.

The Memorial Day parade will begin at 10 a.m., starting with lineup on First Avenue Northeast, then east on D. Street to Third Avenue Northeast and progressing to Evergreen Cemetery.

Musical selections will be performed by the Brainerd High School band under the direction of Chris Fogderud.

Master of ceremonies will be Dick Lyscio. McWaters will give the invocation.

Pledge of Allegiance will be led by Allison Mueller, VFW Voice of Democracy winner.

Posting of the Colors will be be Veterans organization’s Color Guard.

Greetings will be given by Baxter Mayor Darrell Olson, Brainerd Mayor James Wallin and Crow Wing County Auditor/Treasurer Laureen Borden. Evergreen Cemetery Association greetings will be by John Boeder.

Erin Staples will deliver the Gettysburg Address.

Guest speaker will be Capt. Chris Staples.

Benediction will be given by McWaters.

Retiring of the colors will be performed by the Color Guard.

Firing of the rifle volley will be by the American Legion.

Taps, with echo, will be done by the BHS buglers.

Howes to speak at services

BACKUS — State Rep. Larry Howes, R-Walker, will give Memorial Day addresses at Backus and Ponto lake cemeteries conducted by the Backus American Legion and Auxiliary.

Howes, serving his seventh term representing North Central Minnesota’s District 4B, is chairman of the House Capital Investment Committee which reviews and approves Minnesota public construction projects.

The Backus Legion tribute to deceased veterans who served their country will include a color guard rifle salute, laying of a memorial poppy wreath and taps presented by a student and music instructor from the Pine River-Backus School district. Backus services will begin at 10 a.m. and the Ponto Lake service will follow the conclusion of the Backus memorial at approximately 11 a.m., both on Monday.

Howes and his wife, Myrna, reside at Walker. He has been active in supporting small businesses in the Legislature and received a Guardian of Small Businesses Award in 2010 from the National Federation of Independent Businesses. The Howes have a son and son-in-law who have served overseas tours in the military and the representative has encouraged his constituents to be aware of and take advantage of veterans programs that assist returning service members and their families.

Crosslake Legion to host ceremony

CROSSLAKE — The Crosslake-Fifty Lakes American Legion Post No. 500 will host a Memorial Day ceremony at 10 a.m. Monday at the Crosslake Pinewood Cemetery. More than 120 veterans are buried at the cemetery, and their graves will be identified with American flags.

The ceremony will include a wreath laying and full military honors by the color guard.

Ted Silva of Crosslake, a retired Army colonel, will be guest speaker. Silva had a 33-year career with the Army Signal Corps. John Carlson will sing patriot songs.

Nisswa Legion to host Memorial Day service

NISSWA — The Nisswa American Legion will host a Memorial Day service at noon Monday at the Legion. Keynote speaker will be state Sen. Paul Gazelka, R-Brainerd. Nisswa mayor Brian Lehman will also speak. Post commander Jim Starkey will be master of ceremonies. The ceremony will begin by recognizing all people with members of their family currently serving in the military.

The three winners of Nisswa Elementary School’s Memorial Day Essay Contest will read their essays on the topic, “The real heroes were the ones who didn’t return home.”

Brad Wallace and Jackie Kline from Grace United Methodist Church in Pequot Lakes will sing.

The daughters of Scott “Mike” Thurlow, an active member of Post No. 627 who passed away several years ago, will throw a wreath into Nisswa Lake in honor of all who died at sea.

Father George Zeck will be area chaplain.

Jenkins VFW and Pequot Post to host program

PEQUOT LAKES — Jenkins VFW Post No. 3839 and Pequot Lakes American Legion Post No. 49 will host a Memorial Day program at 10 a.m. Monday in the Pequot Lakes High School auditorium. Lunch will follow at the Jenkins VFW.

Pillager services planned

PILLAGER — Memorial Day services will be 10 a.m. Monday Pillager High School auditorium followed by a short ceremony at Wildwood Cemetery and Gull River Cemetery.

Pine River Memorial Day services scheduled

The Pine River American Legion will host a Memorial Day Service at 9:30 a.m. on Monday at the Pine River Dam.

Immediately following that service the Legion will proceed to the Pine River Cemetery around 10:15 a.m. Another service will be held at 11 a.m. at Swanburg Cemetery, rural Pine River.

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Sarah Nelson
Sarah Nelson joined the Brainerd Dispatch in April 2010 and works as a online reporter, content editor and staff writer. She is a world traveler, accused idealist and California native now braving the winters of Central Minnesota. She believes in the power of human resolve and hopes to be part of something that makes history by bringing an end to injustice in the world. Sarah has worked as a criminal background researcher, high school civics teacher, grant writer, and contributing writer with Causecast.org — tackling every issue from global poverty to bio-degradable bicycles. Her favorite thing about living in Minnesota is July. Sarah left the Brainerd Dispatch in April 2014.
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