Guest commentary: Salute a veteran this weekendMemorial Day observances will be held in communities large and small in remembrance of Americans who’ve fallen in defense of freedom and American ideals.
From N. V. (Vince) Sando
Lake County Veterans Service Office
Memorial Day observances will be held in communities large and small in remembrance of Americans who’ve fallen in defense of freedom and American ideals. As in years past, members of area veterans service organizations, veterans and community groups will be preparing Lake County cemeteries for the hallowed day.
Flags will be placed are Sawtooth, Silver Bay, Beaver Bay, Crystal Bay, and Isabella in the Silver Bay area. A detail will place flags starting at 9 a.m. today (Friday) at Lakeview Cemetery in Two Harbors. Flags will also be placed at Palmers, Toimi, Brimson, and Bassett cemeteries.
The Two Harbors community program begins at 9:30 a.m. Monday at the High School Auditorium with patriotic music by the Two Harbors City Band. The formal program starts at 10.
The Silver Bay community program at the Silver Bay Veterans Home begins at 10:30 a.m. with refreshments to follow.
At the conclusion of the Two Harbors High School program, a past activity will be revisited this year. The program will break for 10 to 15 minutes while some willing attendees are asked to proceed to the Agate Bay boat landing to place floral arrangements on the water in honor of Navy and Coast Guard fallen. When that concludes, there will be a gathering at Lakeview Cemetery veteran’s section flagpole for full military honors and the raising of the flag to full staff.
At the conclusion of the cemetery portion of the program, a picnic-style luncheon will be served at the American Legion Post in downtown Two Harbors.
The placing of flags is not a community necessity. Volunteers make every effort to mark each veteran’s resting place, and do it out of a sense of duty to their fallen veteran comrades, family members, or the community.
If a veteran’s resting place isn’t marked by a veteran marker, it’s the family’s responsibility to do one of four things: identify a grave in a dignified manner, let someone know where it is, be there when the flags are placed, or place their own flags. Technology hasn’t quite caught up with us here in Lake County to the point that we can enter a GPS coordinate and find a particular grave and go right to it. That’s in the planning stages. But keep that in mind if someone’s grave is missed.
Contact local veterans if extra flags are needed. If you have purchased a flag for use at a cemetery, mark it in a dignified way to identify it as personal property.
Some words on which to meditate on Memorial Day come from Article One of the U.S. Military Code of Conduct:
“I am an American, fighting in the forces which guard my country and our way of life. I am prepared to give my life in their defense”
Those are serious, somber words that reflect what the day is all about: selfless sacrifice.