By Ivan Raconteur
LESTER PRAIRIE, MN Two members of Lester Prairie’s Ray Kirkpatrick American Legion Post 463 raised the flag at the site of the future veterans’ memorial in the city’s Central Square Park on a recent cold morning, completing the first step in the construction of the memorial.
Project Manager Lloyd Weisenburger and Finance Officer Herb Hoen conducted the flag raising.
The flag will be a focal point of the memorial, although the final design of the memorial is still being developed.
Other elements in the design include additional flagpoles for the Minnesota and Legion flags, and a wall on which tiles bearing the names of veterans will be mounted.
One plan, according to Legion Commander Chester Hoernemann, is for families or individuals to purchase tiles honoring specific veterans.
He said the Legion plans to keep the cost of the tiles as low as possible to allow for the widest possible participation.
Another possibility that has been discussed is using granite for the walls of the memorial.
Honorees need not be members of any service organization, Hoernemann said, nor is it necessary that they are from this area. The only requirement is that they served honorably in any branch of the US armed forces.
Ram Buildings of Winsted donated labor and equipment to dig the hole and install the 25-foot flagpole.
Former Lester Prairie resident Linda Schwichtenberg (daughter of Art Schwichtenberg) donated the flagpole.
The memorial will be located in the northwest corner of the park near the intersection of Central Avenue and Juniper Street.
Construction of other parts of the memorial is expected to continue in the spring.
The purpose of the memorial is to honor deceased veterans from all services, according to Hoernemann.