Brainerd’s Memorial Day ceremonies will begin at 8:30 a.m. Monday at the Laurel Street bridge. A wreath will be tossed into the Mississippi River in remembrance of those veterans lost at sea. A prayer will be given by Pastor Caroline Avelsgaard followed by a rifle volley and taps.
Following will be a ceremony at the All Veterans Memorial next to the Crow Wing County Historic Court House. Walter Straka, Bataan Death March survivor, will lay a wreath at the Bataan Memorial at the National Guard Armory on Wright Street.
The Memorial Day parade will begin at 10 a.m., starting with line-up on First Avenue Northeast, then east on B Street to Third Avenue, proceeding to Evergreen Cemetery in northeast Brainerd.
Musical selections will be performed by the Brainerd High School Band under the direction of Chris Fogederud. Dick Lyscio will be master of ceremonies and the invocation will be given by Pastor Avelsgaard. Posting of the colors will be by veteran organizations’ Color Guard. Pledge of Allegiance will be led by Mary Petersen, Miss Minnesota United States.
Greetings will be given by Baxter Mayor Darrel Olson, Brainerd Mayor James Wallin and Crow Wing County Auditor/Treasurer Laureen Borden.
Evergreen Cemetery Association greetings will be given by Duane Blanck.
Cadet 1st Lt. Jessica Holmes, Civil Air Patrol, will recite the Gettysburg Address. Guest speaker will be Don Samuelson, former state representative and state senator. Benediction will be give by Pastor Avelsgaard.
Firing of the rifle volley will be by Crow Wing County Veterans organizations, followed by taps with echo by the BHS buglers.
The alternate site, in case of rain, will be the National Guard Armory on Wright Street at 10 a.m.
Cragun’s Resort, Brainerd, is presenting a Family Fun Day May 26-27. These events will honor service members and their families with on-site military personnel from all branches of the service. The events start with a silent auction from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sunday with 100 percent of donations raised to go to the Minnesota Military Family Foundation.
Other Family Fun Day activities include a parade with the Brainerd High School marching band at 11 a.m. Sunday, a Color Guard presentation by VFW Post No. 1647 and Joe Vene singing the national anthem at noon. Keynote speaker will be Col. Lowell Kruse at 12:15 p.m. Sunday with additional speakers from the MMFF, Wreaths for the Fallen, a tribute to the troops and Miss Minnesota Outstanding Teen. There will be Humvee rides, a rock climbing wall, games and prizes. All activities are open to the public.
On Sunday and Monday, veterans can fish for free all day off Cragun’s docks or use one of Cragun’s rowboats with or without a motor. Pontoon rental is also available for $10/hour.
Veterans, after 3 p.m. Sunday and all day Monday, can golf the Legacy with no green fee. There’s a $10 charge per person for a GPS-equipped golf cart. Friends and family playing with veterans will receive a discounted golf rate with cart of $35 per person. While the golfers are enjoying a round on the course, there will be a memorial social at the Legacy for other families and friends of veterans at the Legacy Clubhouse with complimentary coffee, cookies, and sweets. For more information, call 800-272-4867.
■ BACKUS — Former Army Capt. and West Point graduate Melinda Thein, Plymouth, will give Memorial Day addresses at Backus and Ponto Lake cemeteries conducted by the Backus American Legion and Auxiliary.
The Backus Legion tribute to deceased veterans who served their country will include posting of the colors, remarks by the Legion Commander William Taylor and Auxiliary President Mel Taylor, singing of “America the Beautiful,” the address by Thein, a color guard rifle salute, laying of a memorial poppy wreath and taps. At Ponto Lake remarks will also be given by James Ballentin of the Ponto Lake Town Board.
Backus Evergreen Cemetery services will begin at 10 a.m. and the Ponto Lake service will follow at the conclusion of the Backus memorial at approximately 11 a.m., both on Monday.
Thein is a 1998 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and left the Army after a 10-year career. She is the daughter of William and Mel Taylor.
As a quartermaster officer, she was a platoon leader and brigade logistician. In her last assignment she was a senior personnel officer serving as a brigade adjutant for the 937th Engineer (Combat) Group. Her unit traveled with and supported the 3rd Infantry Division from the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
She received the Bronze Star, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon and Parachutist Badge.
A part of US Bank’s risk management team, she is married to her high school sweetheart from Spicer, Jay Thein. They have three children.
■ CROSSLAKE — Crosslake Lutheran Church will again host a community observance of Memorial Day at 10 a.m. Sunday at the Outdoor Worship Center on Daggett Pine Road in Crosslake, across from the Crosslake Community Center.
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 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, 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 good will 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 may bring lawn chairs and blankets.
The guest speaker this year is Chaplain Maj. Gen. Norris L. Einertson, U.S. Army retired. He grew up in Westbrook, and graduated from Augustana College in Sioux Falls, S.D., and Luther Seminary, St. Paul. He was ordained in the American Lutheran Church in June 1961 and entered active duty as an Army chaplain a month later. Stateside, he served at Fort Ripley, Kan., Ford Ord, Calif., Forts Hamilton and Wadsworth, N.Y., Forts Gordon and McPherson, Ga., and the Pentagon. Overseas, he served one tour in Panama, two in Germany and one in Vietnam. With the exception of a three-year tour of duty on the staff and faculty of the U.S. Army Chaplain Center and School, his assignments during his first 21 years of service were with the Army’s field units. In April 1982 he began a three-year tour of duty as executive officer in the Office of the Army Chief of Chaplains in the Pentagon. After serving seven and one half months as United States Forces Command Chaplain, he was promoted to brigadier general and became the deputy chief of chaplains on Dec. 1, 1985. Seven months later he was promoted to major general and served for four years as chief of chaplains.
He earned a master of sacred theology degree from New York Theological Seminary and is a graduate of the Command and General Staff College, the Industrial College of the Armed Forces and the Army War College. His military awards include the Distinguished Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star, the Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters and the Army Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster.
He was married to Carolyn Baalson Einertson of Sioux Falls. They have three children: Thomas, of Brooklyn Park, John, of Marietta, Ga., and Nora, of San Jose, Calif. They have six grandchildren.
Chaplain Einertson retired from the Army on Aug. 1, 1990, and was installed as a pastor in Valley Springs, S.D. He and his wife live in Sioux Falls, S.D., where he serves as an interim pastor and visitation pastor at times. For six years he served on the Augustana College Fellows Cabinet. He has served on the Bethany Lutheran Home Long-range Planning Committee since its inception in 1992, and is currently the president of the Bethany Lutheran Foundation.
■ CROSSLAKE — The annual Memorial Day ceremony, led by the Crosslake-Fifty Lakes American Legion Post No. 500, will be at 10 a.m. Monday at the Crosslake Pinewood Cemetery to honor and remember those who died in the service of our country and other deceased military veterans who served.
There are 160 veterans buried at Pinewood who will be identified with individual American flags at their grave sites and recognized individually during the ceremony.
Maj. Chip Rankin of the Minnesota National Guard will be guest speaker. Rankin is principal of Pequot Lakes High School. He has served in the guard for more than 18 years with deployments to both Iraq, where he served as a company commander in Fallujah, and Afghanistan as a commander of a NATO training mission.
Father Ryan Moravitz, pastor of Immaculate Heart Catholic Church in Crosslake, will give the invocation and benediction.
Crosslake Community School students will lead the Pledge of Allegiance and will lay a wreath at the flag pole to honor those who served. The post color guard will provide full military honors.
John Carlson will sing a patriotic selection.
■ LITTLE FALLS — The Memorial Day service at the Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery in Little Falls will be 1:30 p.m. Sunday. The service starts with instrumental music provided by the Richfield Symphonic Orchestra. The parade of flags will be displayed at 1:55 p.m. The program will begin at 2 p.m.
Guest speaker will be Lt. Col. Chad Sackett, deputy post commander, Camp Ripley. Parade marshal is Robert Mace, member of the Waite Park American Legion Post No. 428.
Little Falls’ internationally-known artist Charles Kapsner will have the second of five paintings on display in the Committal Hall, inside the Administration Building at the cemetery.
The Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery is located seven miles north of Little Falls at 15550 Highway 115, adjacent to Camp Ripley Military Base across the Mississippi River Bridge.
■ NISSWA — Citizens of Nisswa will come together in a commemoration ceremony to honor a special class of heroes at noon Monday at the Nisswa American Legion.
Guest speakers will include Sen. Carrie Ruud (keynote speaker), Rep. John Ward and Sen. Paul Gazelka.
Jim Starkey of Post No. 627 will be the master of ceremonies.
The ceremony will begin by recognizing all families with members of their family currently serving in the military.
There will be a number of different events during the ceremony. The Nisswa Elementary School held a Memorial Day essay contest. The top winner will be present to read their essay on “What it means to be a ‘Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Community.’”
Brad Wallace from Grace United Methodist Church will perform renditions of the national anthem, “Proud to be an American” (a sing along), “There She Stands” and the “The Lord’s Prayer.” The daughters of Scott 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 Zeck will be the chaplain.
■ PEQUOT LAKES — The Jenkins VFW Post 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.
Speakers will be Corp. Andrew Rowland and Damian Broderson.
After the program, the color guards will march to the Pequot Lakes Cemetery to present honors and then proceed down Sibley Avenue to Sibley Park. A wreath will be placed in Lake Sibley honoring departed Navy veterans.
Lunch will follow at the Jenkins VFW.
■ PILLAGER — The Pillager American Legion Post No. 100 will present a Memorial Day program at 10 a.m. Monday at the Pillager High School Gym. Following the service there will be a short ceremony at the Wildwood Cemetery and at the Gull River Cemetery.
Presentation of colors and retrieval of colors will be by the Honor Guard. Invocation and benediction will be by Pastor Hector Merced. Flag pledge and the national anthem will be led by Dale Fyhr. Emily Espeseth, student at Pillager, and daughter of Carrie Martin Espeseth who was the Pillager American Legion Auxiliary Girl Stater in 1982, will read “What the national anthem means to Me?” Stephanie Lee will perform a vocal solo. Musical selections will be performed by the Pillager School Band directed by Rob Freelove. Guest speaker will be CDR Stephan W. Myer CEC, USN (Ret). A duet will be performed by Sarah Hanson and Stephanie Lee.