Special event planned Sept. 23 at Veterans Memorial Park

Members of the United States Navy will carry out a presentation of the flag to the family of Joseph Hanson, a veteran from Alexandria.

A special event to honor veterans, hosted by Anderson Funeral Home and Crematory, will take place next Wednesday, Sept. 23, at 7 p.m. at the Veterans Memorial Park in Alexandria. (Celeste Edenloff / Echo Press)

A special event to remember and honor all veterans in Douglas County will take place next Wednesday, Sept. 23.

Anderson Funeral Home and Crematory is hosting the event, set to start at 7 p.m., at the Veterans Memorial Park on the corner of 8th Avenue and Broadway Street in downtown Alexandria.

Erin Petermeier, a funeral director at Anderson’s, has been instrumental in organizing the event. The inspiration, she said, came from her uncle who was killed in World War II, as well as from her coworkers’ relatives who have also served in the military.

“We know we can’t ever repay veterans, but we wanted to take the opportunity to recognize what they have done for us,” said Petermeier.

With the help of Russ Oorlog, chairman of the Veterans Memorial Park Committee, Petermeier and the staff at the funeral home have put together what she says is, “sure to be a truly meaningful tribute to local veterans.”


Weather permitting, there will be a flyover of vintage military planes including a Fairchild PT-26, which was introduced in 1939, as well as a 1941 Boeing/Stearman A75N1 Kaydet , which was primarily used for primary pilot training in WWII.

Angie Riechmann will be singing the National Anthem and God Bless America, and Pastor Mike Bartolomeo will offer the message. Bartolomeo is an honorably discharged veteran who served in the U.S. Marine Corps and is also the founding pastor of Church for the Harvest in Alexandria.

Steve Pederson will play Taps and the Vietnam Veterans of America Post 235 Rifle Squad will be doing the rifle salute.

Members of the United States Navy will carry out a presentation of the flag to the family of Joseph Hanson.

Hanson was born and raised in Alexandria, and at the age of 25, he joined the United States Navy where he completed special warfare training and became a Navy SEAL. He served on active duty for five years and completed 20 years in the Naval Reserves. Late in his career, he was activated for service and served during the Gulf War.

Following his discharge from active duty, Hanson continued to work as a civil employee of the Navy, doing underwater welding projects.

Hanson is being honored during the special service on Wednesday because COVID-19 restrictions prevented military rites to be carried out at the time of his death.

Those attending the event are encouraged to follow social distancing guidelines. For those who are not comfortable attending the event in person, it will be livestreamed on the Anderson Funeral Home website at .

Celeste Edenloff is the special projects editor and a reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press. She has lived in the Alexandria Lakes Area since 1997. She first worked for the Echo Press as a reporter from 1999 to 2011, and returned in 2016 to once again report on the community she calls home.
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