VIDEO: Memorial Day dedication - 'Our freedoms are not free'
Droves of people lined Broadway to see the Memorial Day parade in Alexandria on Monday. After steady downpours during Awake the Lakes on Saturday, the sunshine and light wind made for a picturesque tribute as the fire trucks rolled along and the Jefferson High School marching band strode down the parade route.
Culminating the Memorial Day commemoration was a gathering at Kinkead Cemetery where deceased, retired and active military were honored. For a brief time, between the end of the parade and the beginning of the ceremony, wind-whipped tree branches swayed and sparse raindrops fell - both giving way to the sun and breeze that graced parade goers.
Commander Owen Miller, American Legion Post 87, delivered a welcome speech and introduced Chaplain Lieutenant Colonel Phil Blom.
Blom, also known as the "Disaster Pastor," addressed the crowd with a message of sincerity and purpose. Blom's message of a "prayer-filled, care-filled" community was blended with musical accompaniment by the Mount Carmel Ministries Ensemble.
The Jefferson High School Band, led by Director Todd Blaser, played the National Anthem and the audience joined Richard Erickson in singing America the Beautiful and God Bless America. A duet played Taps as the crowd retreated to pay respects at gravesites. One final message echoed in their heads - "our freedoms are not free."
See related article Despite downpour, tourists poured in for Awake the Lakes.
Crystal Dey Crystal Dey is a staff reporter for the Echo Press. Originally from Minnesota's Iron Range, Dey worked for newspapers in North Dakota, Florida and Connecticut before returning to her home state to join the Echo Press in October 2011. Dey studied Mass Communications at Minnesota State University Moorhead with an emphasis in Online Journalism. Follow Staff Reporter Crystal Dey on Twitter at @CrystalDey_Echo.