By Kristen Miller
Several area Memorial Day programs are scheduled as a time to pay tribute to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.
Kingston, Darwin, Cokato, and Dassel, will each have programs Memorial Day, Monday, May 28. The Cokato Finnish-American Historical Society will have its Memorial Day celebration Saturday, May 26. See below for event details.
Cokato’s Memorial Day
The Memorial Day schedule in Cokato will begin at 7:30 a.m. with the Cokato Legion Post 209 rifle salute at the North Crow River Cemetery.
At 8 a.m., the Raising of Colors will take place at Veterans Memorial Park.
The annual Memorial Day parade will begin at 10:15 a.m. from Cokato Elementary’s south side, and travel north on Broadway Avenue.
The parade ends at Cokato Elementary with a Memorial Day program in the auditorium at 10:45 a.m.
A Memorial Day address will be presented by Bob Lea of Stockholm Township, who spent 20 years in the US Air Force, with 11 of those years serving overseas in places like Japan, Thailand, Okinawa, and the Azores.
Lea’s interest in the Air Force began as a child, living just two blocks from the airport, under the flight path.
Most of this military time was spent maintaining electronic equipment at air traffic control centers and at high-power communication sites.
Currently, Lea works at Ridgewater College in Hutchinson as an automation and robotics systems instructor.
Dassel’s Memorial Day
The Memorial Day observance will begin in Dassel with Dassel Legion Post 364 serving at Lake Jennie Covenant Church Cemetery at 8 a.m.
The annual parade in Dassel will begin at 8:45 a.m., and lead into Dassel Community Cemetery for a program at 9 a.m.
The address will be given by Steven Anderson, a 1981 Dassel-Cokato High School graduate and son of Delores and the late Wilton Anderson, a former Dassel Legionnaire.
Anderson has a strong interest in history, particularly military history, and has been a member of the St. Cloud Civil Air Patrol for more than 20 years. He is currently a professor in the aviation program at St. Cloud State University, where he has worked for more than 20 years.
Darwin’s Memorial Day
The 11th annual Darwin Lakes Area Memorial Day program will begin Monday, May 28 at 10:30 a.m. at Hantge Funeral Chapel.
An invocation will be given by Deacon John Hansen of St. John’s Catholic Church.
The keynote speaker will be Rick Molenaar, rural Dassel resident and retired US Air Force pilot.
After college, Molenaar attended Air Force pilot training in Texas and was assigned after a year to be an instructor in the T-38, a supersonic fighter/trainer.
He spent six years in the Air Force and returned home to North Dakota, where he was a professor of aviation at the University of North Dakota.
After five years, Molenaar joined Northwest Airlines, where he spent 25 years as a pilot.
The program will also include a balloon release at 11 a.m., and refreshments following.
Kingston’s Memorial Day observance
Kingston’s Memorial Day program will begin at 10 a.m. Monday, May 28 at the new Veterans Memorial Park, located at the intersection of CSAH 27 and 19.
Pastor Lloyd Melvie of Lake Union Covenant Church will be the speaker.
Refreshments will be served following the ceremony at the Kingston Community Center.
This will also be an opportunity to see the new addition to the park a statue of a soldier, along with an additional walkway with 23 pavers, according to Sandy Smith, Kingston Legion Auxiliary member.
Cokato Finnish-Am. Historical Society
The Cokato Finnish-American Historical Society will host its annual Memorial Day celebration Saturday, May 26 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Temperance Corner, located three miles north of Cokato on County Road 3.
The main program will feature a short video explaining how DNA is used to track the world population through thousands of years of migration. A panel of genealogists will answer questions related to this topic.
The honored veteran will be Lyle Nelson, who was born and raised in French Lake. He was drafted into the Army in January 1951, and spent 10 months in Korea in gunner duty before being discharged in 1952.
The historical society will also dedicate a photo taken in November 1952, by Lloyd Salmela, upon his return to the US from Germany. The photo, titled “Home At Last,” will hang in the entry of Temperance Hall in honor of the brave veterans who served our country.