The Memorial Weekend heatwave continued into Monday, May 28 and the day was already sweltering at 10 a.m. when service men and women prepared to march down Birch Ave at the start of Maple Lake’s annual service to remember veterans who gave their lives for their country.
A crowd of people sheltered under shade trees in the Community Park near the Veteran’s Memorial to await the arrival of the solemn procession made up of American Legion Post 131 and V.F.W Post 7664 colors guards and firing squad, Maple Lake Boy Scouts and featured speaker Lt. Col. Jill Jensen of Foley among others.
A few people gathered along the route to watch in respectful silence as they passed. Led by the Maple Lake Fire Department, they marched in rhythm to the steady beat of Maple Lake High School drummers.
Commander Gary Jude stepped up to the podium once they arrived at the park, and after a performance of the” Star Spangled Banner” by the high school band, he delivered the opening remarks.
“On Memorial Day we gather together to celebrate the lives of extraordinary Americans, most of whom we never personally knew, who said yes to their country, who paid the ultimate price for freedom when they gave their life for us,” he said.
“The greatest love man can give is to lay down his life for his friends and that is exactly what our fallen heroes have done. They have laid down their lives for us and the generations yet to come.
The audience was then asked to bow their heads as Reverend Culynn Curtis of Holy Cross Lutheran Church led them in prayer.
Girls stater Megan Otto followed with a poem called “Peace” by Amanda Bradley. “Peace will come when love and trust, and kindness know rebirth, and on that day all people will rejoice in peace on earth,” she read to a somber crowd.
Maple Lake Eagle Scout Kenneth Nyquist then recited “A Memorial Day Poem” by CW Johnson. Jensen was the day’s guest speaker.
Jensen currently is serving as an Equal Opportunity Advisor for the 341D Army National Guard at Rosemount. Her civilian career is as a Nurse Practitioner working at the Meeker Memorial Hospital in Litchfield. She was deployed for a tour of duty to Iraq and Kosovo and had active duty status in Washington, Georgia and Kansas. She has received many medals and commendations while serving in active duty. She lives in Foley with her husband Brian.
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