By Starrla Cray
WRIGHT, MEEKER COUNTIES, MN Dassel, Cokato, Kingston, and Darwin all have ceremonies coming up to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice for others’ freedom.
Cokato American Legion Post 209 will begin its Memorial Day ceremonies Monday, May 30 with a rifle volley and flag raising at the Cokato City Cemetery at 7:30 a.m. followed by raising of the colors at Veterans Memorial Park at 8 a.m.
A parade will also take place in downtown Cokato at 10:15 a.m.
The Legion welcomes all individuals in the area who are currently active duty military, members of the National Guard, and members of military reserve units to join them in the parade march. The line will form at 9:45 a.m. on the south side of Cokato Elementary.
Following the parade, a Memorial Day program will take place at the Cokato Elementary School auditorium.
The program will begin with a presentation of colors by the American Legion Post and Auxiliary.
The DC High School band, directed by Brian Veith, will play the “Star Spangled Banner.”
Pastor Matt Miklasz of Elim Mission Church will provide the invocation and benediction.
The Litchfield Area Male Chorus will sing “Give Us A Song,” “I Would Be True,” and “An American Tribute.”
Michael Ackerman of the Cokato American Legion will introduce the Boys State and Girls State representatives, and guest speaker Jim Lauer.
Lauer will present the Memorial Day address. He has been the veterans service officer for McLeod County for 12 years, assisting veterans and their families with access to federal, state, and local benefits earned by their military service.
Lauer served in the US Army for 25 years both as a paratrooper and a helicopter pilot. His military service included duty in the US and overseas, where he participated in Operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm, and supported Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
He retired from the Army in 2003, and has since moved back to Minnesota with his family.
Michael Ackerman will conduct the roll call, followed by the Legion Honor Guard and the playing of Taps.
The program will conclude with the retiring of the colors.
The honor guard consists of Sgt. at Arms Joel Anderson, Michael Ackerman, Carl Holm, Doug Sill, Rollie Severson, Bernard Funk, Dennis Johnson, Lyle Severson, Robert J. Johnson, David Leinonen, Daniel Jones, and Kenneth Aho. The bugler is Dean Svela.
Cub Scout Pack 29 will be the candle attendees.
Paul F. Dille American Legion Post 364 will begin its Memorial Day ceremony Monday, May 30 with assembly of the firing squad and color guard at the Dassel History Center at 7:15 a.m. They will conduct a service at the Lake Jennie Cemetery at 8 a.m.
A parade will start at 8:45 a.m. All participants are asked to be at the south side of Dassel Elementary at that time.
The main program will start at 9 a.m. at the Dassel Community Cemetery.
Steve Brecht will serve as the master of ceremonies, and the American Legion will conduct a flag-raising ceremony and firing squad salute.
The Dassel-Cokato High School band, directed by Brian Veith, will play a drum roll, the “Star-Spangled Banner,” and Taps. A solo will be performed by Sheldon Hedin.
Pastor Mike Newsom will provide the invocation and benediction.
The keynote speaker will be Dr. Tim Tomlinson.
After the program, refreshments will be served at the Dassel Area History Center. The program will take place at that location in case of inclement weather.
Cokato Finnish-American Historical Society
The Cokato Finnish-American Historical Society’s memorial celebration will take place Saturday, May 28 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Temperance Corner, located 3 miles north of Cokato, at 2016 Wright Co. Rd. 3 SW.
A bake sale will start at 10 a.m. featuring pasties, flatbread, pulla, breads, cookies, and other treats.
Lunch will include sausage, cheese, bread, bars, and rhubarb sauce, with coffee or juice to drink.
The program will start at noon, and Tim Jarl, the son of Steve and Cheryl Jarl, is the honored veteran.
The speaker will be Dan Karvonen, a senior Finnish lecturer at the University of Minnesota. Karvonen lived in Helsinki as a Rotary exchange student in high school and also as a Fullbright Scholar during graduate school. He will be presenting obscure and interesting things he learned in Finland.
Johnson Kelly American Legion Post 483 of Kingston will host its annual Memorial Day program at 10 a.m. Monday, May 30 at Kingston Memorial Park downtown.
Ned Root will be master of ceremonies.
The speaker will be Nancy Adams, and Pastor Orville Wirkkala of Kingston Apostolic Lutheran Church will lead a prayer.
Refreshments will follow the program at the Kingston Community Center. The program will take place at the center in case of rain.
The 15th annual Darwin Lakes Area Memorial Day program, sponsored by Darwin Lions, Darwin Community Club, Perennial Bank, and Hantge Funeral Chapel of Darwin will take place Monday, May 30 at 10:30 a.m. at the Hantge Funeral Chapel, 100 First St. in Darwin.
There will be a service of remembrance and a balloon release.
The keynote speaker will be David Fink, and a solo will be performed by Ervin George Asmus. The organist will be Lynda Peterson.
Deacon John Hansen of St. John’s Catholic Church in Darwin will provide the invocation. Military honors will be presented by the Litchfield Military Honor Guard.
Refreshments will be provided after the program.