Memorial Day events in the Douglas County area
Events include a mix of in-person and virtual ceremonies to remember service members who have died.
This year’s Memorial Day services in and around Douglas County will look different this year but the same honor and respect to veterans will be shown.
To mark the event, some area organizations are planning the first public celebrations in two years, after last year’s events were canceled because of the pandemic. Others are staying virtual, or limiting their public activities.
Here’s a rundown of what to expect for Alexandria, Brandon, Evansville, Glenwood, the Millerville area, Osakis and Parkers Prairie.
10 a.m. Parade starts at Big Ole and proceeds south to the Veterans Memorial Park. American Legion Post 87, VFW Post 936, Marine Corps League Runestone Detachment 1409, Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 235 and 934th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron.
Grand Marshal: Larry Skoglund, who served with the 4th Infantry Division in Dak To, South Vietnam, as an artillery forward observer with the 29th Field Artillery in 1967. He earned a Combat Action Ribbon and two Purple Hearts.
11 a.m. Program and ceremony at Veterans Memorial Park. A new part of the ceremony will include the reading of the names of 100 new veterans that are being added to the panels at the park. Ken Voigt with the VFW Post 936 will read the names, along with Jim Conn with the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 235. This will be followed by a silent prayer in memory of all veterans.
Guest Speaker: Lt. Col. Jon Gackle, retired Marine Corps 2012, Marine One Crew Chief, F/A-18 community, staff positions with the Marine Corps and Navy, Squadron Commander MCAS in Iwakuni, Japan, and a tour of duty at the Pentagon.
Noon Pulled pork lunch at Veterans Memorial Park, sponsored by VFW Post 936 and Elks Lodge 1685. Free-will donation.
In case of rain: The program and lunch will be at Alexandria Area High School, with the program at 11 a.m. and lunch at noon.
Brandon will hold a small ceremony at 11 a.m. at Earl Sletto Memorial Park. The Brandon American Legion Post 278 read off the names of veterans who have died and Scouts and 4-H will place American flags in the cemetery. Rev. Maddie Elliott will serve as pastor. No meal will be served this year.
At 10:30 a.m., the local American Legion post will hold an event at the Veterans Memorial in Mound Grove Cemetery in Evansville. The speaker will be Brittany Johnson, executive director of the Douglas County Historical Society.
Pope County will offer a virtual program this year that will be available on the Pope County Tribune website, pctribune.com, beginning Friday, May 28.
Pope County Commissioner Gordy Wagner, a Vietnam vet, will introduce the program, which includes a keynote address by Karna Peters, whose great uncle died in World War I, a reading by John Messenger and the Gettysburg Address delivered by Minnewaska Area High School student Brooklyn Brotzel. Pastor Yolanda Williams of the Glenwood United Parish will deliver the prayer.
Honor Guards from Starbuck, Lowry and Glenwood will be featured in the pre-taped program, as will the Minnewaska Area Schools Concert Band.
For more than 50 years, Inspiration Peak Legion Post 527 of Millerville has honored the memory of military veterans who have passed on, firing rifles and playing taps in area cemeteries.
This year, they will host Memorial Day honors at seven local cemeteries:
Millerville at 8:30 a.m.
Trinity at 9 a.m.
Eagle Lake at 9:30 a.m.
Leaf Mountain at 10 a.m.
Urbank at 10:20 a.m.
St. James at 10:40 a.m.
Ebenezer at 11 a.m.
Everyone is invited to attend.
Osakis VFW Post 7902 will host a live event at 10:30 a.m., Monday, May 31, at Memorial Park.
The Honor Guard will be present, along with the Gordon Men’s Choir and a playing of Taps. The speaker will be Pastor Rud Wasson of Henning.
The event will also be livestreamed on its Facebook page, www.facebook.com/VFWPost7902.
This is also the page to visit for alternative plans in case of rain.
This year’s event will be a simple ceremony at 10 a.m. at the cemetery west of the Parkers Prairie Elementary School, where many veterans are buried.
American Legion Post 219 Commander Mark Larson will speak, followed by a prayer, a 21-gun salute, and the playing of Taps.
American flags will adorn every veteran’s grave, not just in this cemetery, but in many others around town, all placed there by American Legion members.