‘May their memories live on


Organizers of Maple Lake’s Memorial Day program made its purpose very clear: to remember the men and women who died while serving. About 200 people gathered in the community park on Monday morning to do just that.
The remembrance began with a parade from the Maple Lake American Legion Club to the park. Included in the parade were the American Legion and V.F.W. color guards and members, firing squad, American Legion Auxiliary and V.F.W. Auxiliary members, Sons of the Legion members, speaker Bruce Bartels, American Legion Commander Gary Jude, chaplain Culynn Curtis, Boys State representative Jackson Willard, Girls State representative Maddie Nelson, Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts and the Maple Lake Marching Irish, with the Maple Lake Fire Department bookending the parade.
At the park, the crowd stood in reverence as the band played the National Anthem.
Jude welcomed the crowd and introduced Girls State representative Maddie Nelson, who read the poem “We Will Remember” followed by Boys State representative Jackson Willard reading “He Said He Had a Friend.”
“God Bless America,” played by the band, continued the program before Bartels stepped to the podium.
Bartels, a Vietnam War veteran, spoke of his deep connection to Memorial Day.
“It probably started on the day of my birth, May 28, 1947,” Bartels said. “Memorial Day was on May 30th then.”
He left the hospital with the red, white and blue attached to his bassinet.
More information appears in this week's Messenger.