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Estherville remembers its VETERANS

By Staff | Jun 1, 2010

Pastor Doug Burton presented the Memorial Day prayer at both Oak Hill Cemetery and the Central Avenue Bridge where the memorial wreath was tossed into the west fork of the Des Moines. EDN photo by Michael Tidemann

08:00 – A van of flags awaits volunteers to distribute them.

08:05 – Volunteers arrive.

08:20 – More than 400 flags are planted over a two-square-block area in Library Square and Courthouse Square in Estherville.

If there’s anything to the saying that many hands make light work, that was the case on Memorial Day, Monday, when dozens of volunteers turned out to help place flags in Courthouse Square and Library Square in Estherville. Veterans, Boy Scouts and other volunteers came in force to pay tribute to those veterans who sacrificed – some the ultimate sacrifice – for the freedoms of others.

Each flag represents a departed veteran, something that should instill in anyone’s heart the meaning of service to one’s country.

Scoutmaster Mike Clarken helps Iva Kleen with the wreath she made to honor departed veterans. EDN photo by Michael Tidemann

The Honor Guard, made up of members from the Iowa National Guard, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3388, American Legion Post 91, Boy Scout Troop 31, local pastors and buglers from Estherville High School helped honor veterans at area cemeteries.

Perhaps one of the most moving events of the day was when Iva Kleen, 98, handed the wreath to Scout master Mike Clarken who tossed it into the West Fork of the Des Moines.

Gradually, the wreath will follow the waters of the Des Moines to the Mississippi and from there to the Gulf of Mexico. Eventually, it will join waters that have come from other rivers where American servicemen have fallen – the Rouen in France, the Arno in Italy, the Han-gang in Korea, the Mekong delta of South Vietnam, the Tigris and Euphrates in Iraq, the Kabol in Afghanistan.

And, finally, the brothers will all be together again.

The Estherville United Methodist Church choir sang with Randy Yackle playing accompaniment. EDN photo by Michael Tidemann

Estherville High School choir members sang the National Anthem prior to Memorial Day ceremonies at the National Guard Readiness Center Monday. EDN photo by Michael Tidemann

Master Chief Petty Officer (ret.) Gene Haukoos handed 20 new flags from recently departed veterans for placement with the others in Courthouse Square. EDN photo by Michael Tidemann