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Observing Memorial Day

By Staff | May 30, 2014

Everyone at the Memorial Day Ceremony at the Estherville National Guard Readiness Center joined in the Pledge of Allegiance. Photo by Michael Tidemann

Estherville residents paid their respects to departed veterans at Memorial Day observances Monday.

While just a couple decades ago the significance and symbolism of Memorial Day may have been lost to many, the 13-year-long War on Terror has brought home the significance of Memorial Day, Veterans Day and other patriotic observances to the people of Estherville and Emmet County. It is no longer an empty observance, but a time to remember the fallen – those who served their country faithfully and ungrudgingly.

Memorial Day started Monday with a workers breakfast at the Estherville VFW Post 3388 home, with the post home flag ceremony at 8.

The Honor Guard, comprised of members from the Iowa National Guard, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3388, American Legion Post 91, Pastor Mike Drew and buglers from Estherville Lincoln Central High School started a round of ceremonies at local cemeteries as workers set up at the National Guard Readiness Center for the Memorial Day Service.

Services were held at East Side Cemetery with Pastor Joel Smeby officiating; Lutheran and East Side Memorial Cemetery, Oak Hill Cemetery and the Central Avenue bridge with Pastor Glenn Bohmer; and Catholic Cemetery Memorial Day Mass and Honor Guard Service at the Catholic Cemetery with Monsignor Sernet.

Master Chief Petty Officer (Ret.) Gene Haukoos, taking the memorial wreath from Lois Matre, Estherville Good Samaritan Society resident, tossed it into the west fork of the Des Moines as a dove was released.

Families of those whose flags were dedicated this year sat, grieving yet proud, during the 11 a.m. services at the National Guard Readiness Center. Haukoos was master of ceremonies and Pastor Mike Drew gave the invocation, flag dedication and benediction.

The Estherville Lincoln Central band played patriotic music and Jim Butler provided a narration to “Sweet Freedom Song” by the Methodist Praise Team.

In what was perhaps the move moving time of the day, Craig Christensen of Henry-Olson Funeral Home read the names of departed veterans whose flags were dedicated to the Avenue of Flags. The Honor Guard concluded ceremonies as Taps was played.

The newly dedicated flags were placed on the southwest corner of the Courthouse after the ceremony.