By Jennifer Von Ohlen
WRIGHT, MEEKER COUNTIES, MN Dassel, Cokato, Kingston, and Darwin have organized Memorial Day programs to honor those who gave up everything while preserving America’s freedom.
Cokato American Legion Post 209 will begin its Memorial Day ceremonies Monday, May 29 with a rifle volley and flag raising at the Evangelical Lutheran Church 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 School.
Following the parade, a Memorial Day program will take place at the Cokato Elementary School auditorium. The program will start 10:45 a.m.
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,” and the Litchfield Area Male Chorus will sing three songs of remembrance.
Cokato American Legion will introduce the Boys State and Girls State representatives, and guest speaker Don Duffner.
There will also be a roll call of local fallen soldiers who died on the battlefield.
The program will conclude with the retiring of the colors.
The honor guard consists of Sergant-atArms Michael Ackerman, Carl Holm, Doug Sill, Rollie Severson, Bernard Funk, Dennis Johnson, Lyle Severson, Charles Stovner, 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 29 with an honor guard rifle salute service at the Lake Jennie Cemetery at 8 a.m.
Dassel’s Memorial Day program will take place at the Dassel Community Cemetery at 9 a.m.
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.
Vocal music will be performed by Sheldon Hedin.
Pastor Keith Carlson of the Dassel Covenant Church will provide the invocation and benediction.
The keynote speaker will be former Army Captain Drew Hultgren.
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 27 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 Loren Hoikka will be the honored veteran. The speaker will be Johanna Ellison, who will present on the Communication at War Time.
The traveling sauna, Sisu, will also be exhibited from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., after which it will be heated for sauna sessions.
The cost to take a sauna is $5 per person, or $30 for groups of six for 45 minutes.
Groups of 10 can take an hour-long sauna for $50.
To reserve a spot in the sauna, contact Risto at firstname.lastname@example.org. Participating attendees need to bring their own swimsuit and towel.
The sauna was built by Finnleo in Cokato and is traveling across the US, in celebration of Finland’s 100th anniversary from claiming freedom and independence from Russia.
Johnson Kelly American Legion Post 483 of Kingston will host its annual Memorial Day program at 10 a.m. Monday, May 29 at Kingston Veterans Park.
Ned Root will be master of ceremonies.
The speaker will be Logan Pautze.
The Litchfield Area Male Chorus will be performing, led by Adam Gedde.
Sara and Carolyn Cronk will be singing the “Star Spangled Banner.”
The Junior Auxiliary Girls will be reciting the war poem, “In Flanders Field.”
Refreshments will follow the program at the Kingston Community Center. In the case of rain, the entire program will take place at the community center.
The 16th 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 29 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.
A solo will be performed by Steve Krenik, and 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.
The keynote speaker for the day will be Tom Hauer. Hauer grew up in a family of 12 in Hector and was drafted into the US Army in 1970. Following his basic training at Fort Bragg, NC, he was stationed at Fort Riley, KS. Hauer is now a Darwin resident, and writes for Senior Perspective Magazine.