Memorial Day events in the lakes area

The following is a listing of Memorial Day events in the Brainerd lakes area. Brainerd Brainerd Memorial Day ceremonies begin 8:30 a.m. Monday, May 27, at the Laurel Street bridge, where a wreath honoring those veterans lost at sea will be tossed...

Photo illustration, Metro Creative Graphics, Inc.

The following is a listing of Memorial Day events in the Brainerd lakes area.


Brainerd Memorial Day ceremonies begin 8:30 a.m. Monday, May 27, at the Laurel Street bridge, where a wreath honoring those veterans lost at sea will be tossed into the Mississippi River. A prayer will be given by Pastor Tom Wooden, Oak Street Chapel, followed by the firing of a rifle salute and taps.

The ceremony will proceed to the All Veterans Memorial next to the Crow Wing County Historic Courthouse, where a wreath will be placed in honor of all veterans of the armed forces of the United States of America. This will be followed by a prayer from Wooden, the firing of a rifle salute and taps.

A brief ceremony will then take place at the Bataan Memorial, located next to the National Guard Armory on Wright Street. This will include the placing of a wreath by Bataan Death March survivor Walt Straka, a prayer by Wooden, firing of a rifle salute and taps.


The Memorial Day parade will begin at 10 a.m., with lineup beginning at 9:30 a.m. The parade proceeds east on B Street to Third Avenue Northeast, then north to Evergreen Cemetery.

Master of ceremonies will be Bill Satre. Guest speaker will be Bob Nelson, who will also perform "Proud To Be An American."

The Pledge of Allegiance will be led by Michelle Steur. Music will be provided by the Brainerd High School Band. The Gettysburg Address will be presented by Zach Vogt. A reading of "Ragged Old Flag" will be presented by Jan Lambert.

The American Legion and Brainerd Elks are hosting a free picnic lunch 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Monday at the American Legion parking lot, 708 Front St., Brainerd.


The Backus American Legion, Auxiliary and Sons of the American Legion will conduct Memorial Day services Monday, May 27, at the Backus Evergreen and Ponto Lake cemeteries.

The Backus service will be at 10 a.m. and Ponto Lake at approximately 11 a.m.

The tribute to deceased veterans who have served their country will include singing of "America the Beautiful," the Pledge of Allegiance, tolling of the bell for community members who died in the past year, laying of a memorial poppy wreath, a post color guard/rifle squad salute and the playing of taps.


In the event of inclement weather, the services will be at the Backus American Legion and Ponto Lake Town Hall.


A Memorial Day service will be 10:30 a.m. Monday, May 27, at Lakewood Cemetery in Crosby.

The Myrin-James American Legion Post No. 443 will present a Memorial Day service, including roll call of deceased veterans and auxiliary members, live music, a message from Curt Christopherson, Post No. 443 commander, and more.

In case of inclement weather, the service will be at Mayberry Auditorium in the Crosby-Ironton High School.

There will be a picnic following the ceremonies 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Ironton Legion. It is free and open to the public.


Crosslake Lutheran Church's annual Memorial Day service will be Sunday, May 26, with a communitywide observance at 10 a.m. at the Outdoor Worship Center on Daggett Pine Road across from the Crosslake Community Center baseball field.


The outdoor service will feature the national anthem sung by John Carlson, a contingent of American Legion veterans posting the colors and 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.

Veterans from World War II to the present will be honored and the fallen remembered. Gold Star families will be recognized.

The guest speaker will be James Tuorila, a licensed psychologist whose clinical experience includes a 30-year career with the St. Cloud Veterans Affairs specializing in post-traumatic stress disorder. He served in the U.S. Army for four years, serving 13 months overseas with the 2nd Infantry Division on the Demilitarized Zone in the Korean peninsula. He was honorably discharged at the rank of sergeant in 1977.

Those who attend the ceremony may stay in their cars and listen to the service over their car radio or sit on provided benches and chairs. People may want to bring blankets or chairs. Pets are welcome.


The Crosslake-Fifty Lakes American Legion Post 500 will lead the annual Memorial Day service at 10 a.m. Monday, May 27, at the Crosslake Pinewood Cemetery.

Guest speaker will be Robert Uppgaard, Pequot Lakes, who served in World War II as a Navy Seabee, serving in both Europe and the Pacific during the war. Prior to D-Day, his Seabee Battalion helped prepare Omaha Beach for the invasion.

There are more than 180 local veterans buried at Pinewood who are identified with individual American flags at their gravesite and who will be recognized individually during the ceremony.

To begin the ceremony, during the raising of the flag, John Carlson will sing the national anthem followed by Crosslake Community School students laying a wreath at the base of the flagpole.

Father Blake Rozier, of Immaculate Heart Catholic Church, will deliver the invocation and benediction.

The ceremony will conclude with the post color guard providing military honors with the traditional rifle salute and the playing of taps.


DEERWOOD-The Walter Scott Erickson Post No. 557 in Deerwood is hosting its Memorial Day observance at 9 a.m. Monday, May 27, at the Deerwood Auditorium.

Rep. Dale Lueck, R-Aitkin, will be the speaker of the day. The Cuyuna Range Community Band and soloist Cathy Aykens will provide entertainment. Boy Scout Troop 100, Post No. 557 Auxiliary members, Sons of the American Legion and Legionnaires will assist in the morning's activities.

Coffee and treats will be provided following the ceremony hosted by the auxiliary.


EMILY-Pine Ridge Cemetery will be the setting for the Memorial Day service 9 a.m. Monday, May 27.

All past or present military people are encouraged to attend the service and stand or sit behind the cross so they also can be honored as the names of deceased military personnel are read. Attend in uniform or any part of uniform if possible. The invitation includes current reserve or guard military.

Members of the Lions of Emily, Outing and Fifty Lakes, area churches, as well as the Myrin-James American Legion Post No. 443 Color Guard Unit will be in attendance.

The public should bring chairs for comfort during the ceremony.

Little Falls

LITTLE FALLS-The Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs will have a memorial ceremony Sunday, May 26, at the Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery in Little Falls.

Musical selections by the Richfield Symphonic Band will begin at 1:30 p.m. followed by a program that will include the placing of ceremonial wreaths, music by the St. Francis Community Chorale, a Fallen Soldier Display by the Korean War Veterans-Minnesota Chapter 1, and a rifle salute by the Memorial Rifle Squad.

Retired Maj. Gen. David D. Hamlar Jr. will be the guest speaker.


Hosting Memorial Day programs on Monday, May 27, are the following:

• Bridgeman Cemetery, 9 a.m., guest speaker Commander Tom Ladwig, Tri-County Post No. 127;

• Motley-Staples Middle School, 10 a.m., guest speaker Maj. Tyler Bienike;

• Motley Public Cemetery, 11 a.m., guest speaker Chief Warrant Officer Scott Bjerke; and

• Poplar Cemetery, 1 p.m., guest speaker Chief Warrant Officer Scott Bjerke.

The Motley Historical Society will have an open house from noon to 4 p.m. Monday, May 27, at Motley City Hall.


The Nisswa American Legion will host its annual Memorial Day program at noon Monday, May 27, to honor soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of the country's liberty.

The Nisswa American Legion Color Guard will render military honors. Brad Wallace, music director at Grace United Methodist Church in Pequot Lakes, will provide music. The Nisswa Elementary School essay winner will read the winning essay.

Guest speaker will be Dr. Sara Lokstad. She served on active duty in the U.S. Army from 2003-11 and joined the reserves after completing her active duty time. She was stationed at Fort Lewis, Wash., and Fort Leavenworth, Kan. She was deployed three times (Iraq once and Kuwait twice). She is currently assigned to the 452nd Combat Support Hospital, Company A, at Fort Snelling.

Those who have served and who continue to serve will also be honored. Jim Starkey, of Post 627, will be the master of ceremonies.

Pequot Lakes

The Jenkins VFW Post 3839 and Pequot Lakes American Legion Post 49 will host an annual Memorial Day ceremony at 10 a.m. Monday, May 27, in the Pequot Lakes High School auditorium.

Pequot Lakes Police Chief Eric Klang will read "In Flanders Field." VFW Post Commander Donald Lohse will give a prepared speech on the origins of Memorial Day. After the program, the group will proceed to the cemetery behind Our Savior's Lutheran Church where a ceremony with a ceremonial three rounds will be fired from rifles with the playing of taps. The group will continue the ceremony at Sibley Lake with a wreath laying from pontoon to honor deceased naval veterans.

The Jenkins VFW Post 3839 will host a luncheon.


PILLAGER-The Pillager American Legion will host a Memorial Day program 10 a.m. Monday, May 27, followed by ceremonies at Wildwood, Pillager, and Gull River cemeteries.

Pine River

PINE RIVER-Pine River's annual Memorial Day celebration will take place at 9 a.m. Monday, May 27, at the dam with music performed by the Pine River-Backus School Choir and an unnamed guest speaker. A wreath laying ceremony will take place as well as playing of taps and raising of the flag.

At 10 a.m. the service will move to the Pine Ridge Cemetery for a wreath laying ceremony at the veterans memorial there.


STAPLES-Services will begin at Evergreen Hill Cemetery at 9 a.m. Monday, May 27. In case of rain, the service will be at the Staples-Motley High School, Centennial Auditorium.

This year is the 100th year celebration of the Statue for the Grand Army of the Republic that stands in the cemetery.


Area residents are invited to a Memorial Day service at 11:30 a.m. Monday, May 27, at the Swanburg Cemetery to honor those men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving the country.

Featured speaker will be Crosslake resident Ralph Taylor, who was an airman first class in the U.S. Navy and sergeant first class in the National Guard. The master of ceremonies will be James Anderson, Timothy Township's town board chairman.

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