Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day, 2010

One of the real points of pride I feel about Red Wing is its Memorial Day service. Each year a crowd gathers alongside the river for a great ceremony that always includes the reading of Logan's Proclamation (the order that created Memorial Day shortly after the Civil War), a recitation of the Gettysburg Address, music from the high school band and a nice keynote speaker.

This is followed by a three-volley cannon salute, a 21-gun salute and the laying of memorial flowers in the river. Each year it's a well-done ceremony, and several hundred people always turn out for it.

We then usually travel to Bloomington, where Penny's family has a nice tradition of meeting for lunch, then visiting the nearby grave of her father at Ft. Snelling. Tom Kleinman served in the Navy in WW II, and died way too young, never seeing Penny get married or meeting our children. Today two of his great-grandchildren, Anne and Sam, were with us to visit his grave.

After the Kleinman family disperses, I go to the other side of Ft. Snelling, where my uncle, Vernon Peterson, was laid to rest in 2000. Vernon fought in heavy combat in N. Africa and Italy, earning a Purple Heart along the way. He returned to Minnesota, married my aunt and for years their lakeside home in Pine City was the gathering spot for the family on Memorial Day, Labor Day and other times. He had an incredible sense of humor - a Swede trapped among all the Dutchmen - and lived a remarkable life. It's a joy to be able to spend a few moments remembering him and to leave a flag with him.

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