Lake County pauses to remember veterans on Memorial DayThis morning, veterans and community volunteers will be participating in an annual ritual of remembrance and honor—placing small American flags near the graves of over 1,000 service men and women throughout Lake County.
By: Tammy Francois, Lake County News Chronicle
This morning, veterans and community volunteers will be participating in an annual ritual of remembrance and honor—placing small American flags near the graves of over 1,000 service men and women throughout Lake County.
Those interred served and fought in conflicts dating back to the Civil War. The last local veteran of that battle died on Armistice Day in 1929. Many have followed, some died of injuries sustained in the field, some from conditions of war, including Agent Orange, according to Vince Sando, Lake County Veterans Service Officer, who said that placing Memorial Day flags at gravesites has taken place each year for as long as he can remember.
“We want to make sure that the vets who put on a uniform when they didn’t have to, and fought for the ideals that kept our country free, are remembered, especially those who died of wounds,” he said. Sando acknowledges that this act of respect can raise complex feelings for living veterans, who may be grateful to have returned from battle but unsettled that some of their comrades didn’t.
“I guess for anybody who has worn a uniform and gone into harm’s way, there’s that guilt knowing that you’ve come home and others haven’t, and never will,” he said, adding that “some come back and are physically home, but never completely home.”
For those who still struggle, Sando said there is hope.
“I want them to know they’re not alone; they have brothers and sisters that are genuinely eager to help.”
The placing of the flags this morning at 8:30 a.m., will be followed by a Memorial Day program on Monday at Two Harbors High School starting at 9:30 a.m. in the auditorium. Keynote speaker will be decorated Vietnam veteran, Keith Larson. Music will be performed by the Two Harbors City Band, directed by Alan Anderson. After the program, there will be a ceremony at the Agate Bay boat launch to remember Navy, Coast Guard and Merchant Marine veterans. The event has been planned by the American Legion and VFW Auxiliary.
Silver Bay will be holding its Memorial Day program at the Silver Bay Veterans Home starting at 10:30 a.m. The scheduled keynote speaker will be Dave Mealey. The public is welcome to attend all of these events.
Volunteers are still needed to help place flags, tend to flower beds and clean up at the Lake View Cemetery. Join the effort at 8:30 a.m. Veterans or family members of service men and women who need help or support, may call the Veterans Service Office in Two Harbors at 834-8326 or Silver Bay at 226-4443. A veterans service officer can provide emotional support, links to community resources, help with applying for veterans benefits and services and much more.