LITTLE FALLS -- Nearly 80 members attended the annual meeting and picnic of the Minnesota State Veterans Association at the Little Falls American Legion Post 46 on July 19.
Association President Lyle Nelson greeted members and Cal Bengtson led the table prayer before the meal.
During the business meeting, treasurer Stan Wagner's report showed expenses for the memorial Sunday program at the Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery totaled $4,500 with several bills still outstanding. Nelson said planning for the 2005 program would be on the agenda for the Sept. 17 meeting.
A little more than 1,100 people were counted at the gate this Memorial Day, the first since the $2.7 million reconstruction. The program took place at the center of the cemetery at the new flag assembly area.
Marvin Zastrow, Memorial Day chairperson, summarized the program and thanked the many volunteers who were responsible. The Minneapolis Richfield American Legion Post 435 Concert Band and the USA Community Chorus provided music. Orin Hatton, National Cemetery Administration, gave the keynote address, Company B1/194 Armor, Minnesota Army National Guard, St. Cloud, posted colors, and emcee was David Cook, Duluth. The program was broadcast live over Little Falls radio KLKF.
Cemetery administrator David Swantek said more than 1,700 burials have taken place in the cemetery's 10-year history. During the last fiscal year, which ended June 30, 242 burials were recorded.
"Six months after a funeral we send a survey to the family requesting a rating of our services. Returns indicate that 98 percent are satisfied or very satisfied with our services," said Swantek.
All people who are eligible for burial in the Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery are members of the association and are invited to attend the meetings. Meetings are held the third Tuesday, every other month, with the annual meeting in July. The next meeting will be 7:30 p.m. at the Little Falls American Legion. There are no dues. Donations are the association's only source of revenue.
"We encourage more veterans and their spouses to attend our meetings," said Nelson. "We need younger people to help us continue to serve veterans and their families with the respect and dignity they deserve."
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.