BY GABE LICHT
DELANO, MN More than 200 people took time Monday to observe Memorial Day in Delano.
Following the parade, retired Navy Lt. Erienne Kriesch addressed the crowd gathered around the Central Park gazebo.
“On every last Monday in May, we reflect on those men and women who so bravely risked their lives in the face of grave danger, and we remember those who left the comforts of home to fight for us and our freedom, and those who never returned,” Kriesch said.
She specifically mentioned Army Sgt. John Joseph Russek, of Delano, who was killed in action in Vietnam Dec. 13, 1968. Delano American Legion Post 377 Commander Troy Kriesch later led a round of applause for Russek’s mother, Luella, who had placed a wreath at the memorial in the park in memory of her son.
Names of all local veterans killed in action were read, as were the names of American Legion and American Legion Auxiliary members lost in the past year.
In total, nearly 2,000 Minnesotan men and women have given their lives in service to the US since the Korean War, Erienne Kriesch said.
In addition to recognizing those individuals, she also shared the story of the USS Indianapolis, which sunk in 12 minutes July 30, 1945, and was recovered in August 2017.
Of the 1,195 crew members on board, only 316 survived.
“The families of those lost on board the USS Indianapolis received a small sense of closure last year, but they are still part of a club that no one really wants or asks to join,” she said. “While service members and their families understand and accept the risks they take by volunteering to serve our great nation, nothing can truly prepare survivors for that knock on the door.”
She acknowledged all those who have lost a loved one in the line of duty with a moment of silence.
In closing, Erienne Kriesch looked ahead.
“I know it’s a little unorthodox for Memorial Day, but I’d also like to take a moment to look forward to this nation’s future,” she said. “Because of the sacrifice many men and women have made, we have an inspiring future to look forward to.”