Memorial Day roundup of events

An area roundup of Memorial Day events and celebrations.

A woman uses a hand clipper to trim grass at a graveside.
Lonnie Adair clips grass on her family's graves Monday, May 23, 2022, in Evergreen Cemetery in Brainerd.
Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch


The Brainerd Memorial Day program will begin at 9 a.m. Monday, May 30, at the Laurel Street Bridge.

There will be a short service and a wreath will be thrown into the Mississippi River by members of the Honor Guard to remember those who were lost at sea.

At 9:45 a.m., there will be a short service at the All Veterans Memorial with special recognition for the soldiers of the Bataan Death March. Walt Straka, the last Minnesota Bataan Death March survivor, who always laid the wreath, passed away July 4, 2021.

At both events, taps will be played and there will be a three-volley rifle salute.

The parade will begin at 10:30 a.m. at First Avenue Northeast and B Street, go east to Third Avenue Northeast and then north to Evergreen Cemetery, where the ceremony will begin at 11 a.m.


In case of rain, the ceremony will be at the Brainerd Armory and the local radio stations will be informed of this.

After the ceremony, the American Legion will serve a free lunch to veterans and their families.


The Maxon-Van Eps American Legion Post 368 of Backus will host two Memorial Day services Monday, May 30.

The first ceremony will start at 10 a.m. at the Backus Evergreen Cemetery.

The service will then move to Ponto Lake Cemetery and begin around 11 a.m.

A club social and luncheon at the American Legion in Backus will follow the services.


CROSSLAKE — The annual Memorial Day service in Crosslake will be 8:30 a.m. Sunday, May 29, at Crosslake Lutheran Church.

At 10 a.m., a communitywide observance will be at the Outdoor Worship center at 14049 Daggett Pine Road across from the Crosslake Community Center baseball field. Both services are open to the public.


The outdoor service will feature the National Anthem sung by John Carlson, a contingent of the Crosslake-Fifty Lakes American Legion Color Guard firing an honorary salute to the dead, and an aerial fly-over 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 is Steve Knight who has been an adviser to the Civil Air Patrol and now lives in Mission Hill, South Dakota.

Veterans from World War II to the present will be honored. Those attending may stay in their cars and listen via radio or be seated on provided chairs. People are also invited to bring their own chairs and blankets.

This year’s speaker will be Melony Butler, the chair and director of the Eagle's Healing Nest, which is located in Sauk Centre. The Eagles Healing Nest is a nonprofit organization committed to meeting the needs of veterans who suffer from the invisible wounds of war. Butler is a military wife to Master Sgt. Blaine Butler and they reside in Staples, with their 9-year-old son, Preston. Her three adult sons all serve in the Minnesota National Guard. Her family has gone through four deployments during Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. They have five grandchildren. Butler has a degree in psychology and has been on a mission for many years advocating and helping veterans. She has been a Family Readiness Leader for 14 years, volunteers every year at the Great Falls, Montana, Vets 4 Vets Stand Down. She also speaks on supporting soldiers and families throughout the communities.

The Crosslake/Fifty Lakes American Legion Post 500 will lead the annual Crosslake Memorial Day ceremony at 10 a.m. Monday, May 30, at the Crosslake Pinewood Cemetery.

The ceremony is to honor and remember military veterans who sacrificed their lives defending our country. There are over 190 local veterans buried at the Pinewood Cemetery who are identified with individual American flags at their gravesites. Each veteran will be recognized individually.

The public is invited to help pay tribute to the veterans. Everyone is encouraged to bring lawn chairs and umbrellas in case of inclement weather.

The guest speaker will be Alec Embree, who served in the Minnesota National Guard. Embree is a resident of the Eagle's Healing Nest in Sauk Centre, which houses military veterans with invisible mental scars, mostly suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, to heal and return as productive members of society.

The ceremony will begin with the raising of the flag and John Carlson singing the national anthem. It will conclude with the Post 500 Color Guard providing military honors with the traditional rifle salute and the playing of taps.


Little Falls

A memorial event will be celebrated Sunday, May 29, at the Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery, Little Falls.

The Richfield Symphonic Band will begin playing music at 1:30 p.m., with the formal ceremony starting at 2 p.m. A few of the key items for the ceremony are listed below:

  • Parade of Flags
  • Fallen Soldier Display by the Korean War Veterans, Chapter 1
  • Placement of memorial wreaths
  • Memorial address by Col. (Ret.) Larry Herke, Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Rifle salute by the Memorial Rifle Squad – Little Falls
  • Ceremonial flag fold by the Minnesota Military Funeral Honors Program

Guests are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and to carpool, if possible. The program will continue rain or shine, therefore umbrellas are recommended.
The cemetery grounds and lobby of the Administration Building will be open to the public throughout Memorial Day Weekend, from sunrise to sunset.


The Nisswa American Legion Post 627 will host a commemoration ceremony at noon Monday, May 30.

The ceremony will honor soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmembers who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of the country's liberty.

While the main purpose of the ceremony is to honor those who have died, the Legion will also honor those who served and those who continue to serve.

The Nisswa American Legion Color Guard will render military honors. Music will be provided by Brad Wallace, the music director at United Methodist Church of Pequot Lakes. The winner of the Nisswa Elementary School essay contest will read their winning essay.


Roger Taylor, commander of Post 627, will be the master of ceremonies.

Pequot Lakes

The Ben Krueger American Legion Post 49 Memorial Day event will begin at 10 a.m. Monday, May 30, in the Pequot Lakes High School auditorium.

Doors will open at 9:30 a.m.

The guest speaker will be Col. Chip Rankin of the Minnesota Army National Guard and former principal at Pequot Lakes High School. The Legion’s Girls State attendee, Pequot Lakes senior Sonja Palmer, will also speak.

The ceremony will include musical selections from the Pequot Lakes men’s chorus and Pequot Lakes High School’s choir trio, the B Sharps.

Following the event, the color guard will march to Our Savior’s Lutheran Church Cemetery to fire a salute for fallen veterans. They will then march to Sibley Park for the dedication of a Navy wreath on Sibley Lake.

After the ceremony, the community is invited to a lunch at the American Legion in Pequot Lakes. Lunch will be free and tap beers will be 49 cents for veterans. At 2 p.m., there will be an indoor/outdoor meat raffle with all proceeds going to the Pequot Lakes Fire Department.

Pine River

The Pine River American Legion Post 163 will host three Memorial Day services Monday, May 30, starting at 9:30 a.m.


There will be color guard ceremonies performed at each service. The public is invited to attend the commemorative service to honor those who served and those who sacrificed all during military service.

The first will take place at 9:30 a.m. at the Pine River dam.

The service will then move to Pine Ridge Cemetery on County Road 1 with honors being presented at 10 a.m.

The final service will be at 11 a.m. at Swanburg Cemetery, also on County Road 1. The speaker will be Legion Post 163 Commander Terry Steele.

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