BY LINDA HERKENHOFF AND SUSAN VAN CLEAF
SUN PRESS NEWSPAPERS
Numerous Memorial Day observances are planned for Monday, May 27, in Independence, Medina, Rockford, Corcoran and Delano. Some will be on city streets and in city parks, and some will be at area churches and cemeteries.
Finding a nearby celebration will be easy. Choose one from the following schedules:
Memorial Day in Rockford is a tradition that has been in place for years and is carried on into 2013 with the same flavor of recognition, appreciation and celebration.
The annual parade, complete with the Rockford High School Marching Band, will assemble in front of the middle school and depart for a march through downtown Rockford at 10 a.m. The parade will stop on Bridge Street for a Naval recognition, and go on to the Elmwood cemetery where it will host a service honoring service members.
The Rockford Lions Club will serve pork chops in Riverside Park beginning at 11 a.m., and the Rockford Area Historical Society will host a “pie and ice cream” social and craft sale at the Stork House following the parade.
Retired Staff Sergeant Mike Mills, who was badly wounded while serving in Iraq, will be featured speaker at Memorial Day observances in Delano. A parade will begin at 10:30 a.m. at the Delano American Legion, Highway 12 at Bridge Avenue and travel to Delano Central Park on River Street, where SSgt. Mills will speak.
At the Central Park event, Deacon Joseph Kittok of the Delano Catholic Community will offer a prayer. The Delano High School Band will provide special music, and Soul Sisters will sing patriotic songs.
Back at the Legion Club, the Delano Legion will dedicate a memorial to the five American military services. Delano High School student Dillon Field devoted his Eagle Scout project to bringing the memorial into being. After the dedication, the Legion Club will serve lunch to visitors.
Another memorial project will be visible at the Delano Legion. The Delano Legion Post has installed memorial bricks that are being sold to anyone who wants to create an enduring remembrance of a loved one. Brick sales are continuing at a cost of $100 for a two line message. For information, contact Jack Lynch at 612-812-5948.
SSgt. Mills, the featured speaker, served with Bravo Co. 434th MSB Army National Guard from St. Cloud. His unit was attached to the 50th MSB from Teaneck, New Jersey while in Iraq. He tells his story on his website, www.fortheveteran.com.
He begins his narrative, “On June 14, 2005, my life was forever changed. I saw the IED (improvised explosive device). I tasted the gun powder. No one is sure if I jumped or if I was blown from the HETT (Heavy Equipment Transporter) that I was riding in. Doesn’t matter I guess. When I landed though, it was hard enough to crack both my clavicle and scapula bones, dislocate my shoulder along with breaking my hip all on the left side. I also broke 4 out of 5 bones in my foot. Did I mention that I was on fire.”
His emotional recovery from his ordeal while talking with a physiologist in the hospital. “He had one simple question that we concentrated on, ‘Was it my fault?’ Was it my fault that I went to Iraq? Was it my fault that I went on that mission? Was it my fault that the IED was placed in the road? He just went on, and as he did, I realized that it wasn’t my fault. I did not cause any of this. That was the turning point of my emotional recovery.”
The Hamel American Legion, John Pohlker Post No. 394, will honor deceased veterans on Memorial Day, Monday, May 27, according to the following schedule:
8 a.m. Mass at Holy Name Church, 155 County Road 24, Medina
8:45 a.m. Holy Name Cemetery, County Road 24 across from Holy Name Church, Medina
9:15 a.m. St. Anne’s Cemetery, 200 Hamel Road, Medina
9:45 a.m. St. Thomas Cemetery, 93rd Ave. N. and Trail Haven Road, Corcoran
10 a.m. St. Jeanne Cemetery, Rebecca Park Trail, east of Rolling Hills Road, Corcoran
10:20 a.m. Old St. Thomas Cemetery, 93rd Ave. N. and Trail Haven Road, Corcoran
10:45 a.m. St. Patrick Cemetery, Bass Lake Road west of Vicksburg Lane, Maple Grove
11:15 a.m. St. Joseph’s Cemetery, 13015 Rockford Road, Plymouth
11:40 a.m. German Liberal Cemetery, 2695 Hamel Road, Medina
INDEPENDENCE, MAPLE PLAIN
A Memorial Day service will be held at 10:30 a.m. Monday, May 27, at Lewis Cemetery, located on County Road 90 south of Highway 12 in Independence. In case of rain, the service will take place at Christ Lutheran Church, 5084 Main St. E. in Maple Plain.
Guest speaker will be Judge William Koch, Hennepin County. Also participating will be Rev. Gregg Tisor, of Maple Plain Community Church. The Orono High School Band and Orono Student Voices will provide special music.
The American Legion Post 514 Honor Guard/Firing Squad will make the rounds of cemeteries to salute departed comrades. Observances will be at 8:45 a.m. at Oakland Cemetery, located on Watertown Road east of Nelson Road in Maple Plain; at 9:15 a.m. at Christ Lutheran Cemetery, located on County Road 110 south of Watertown Road in Maple Plain and at 9:45 a.m. at Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Cemetery, located on County Road 19 just south of Loretto.
The Hamel Veterans of Foreign Wars Post and Auxiliary No. 5903 will participate in three Memorial Day observances, beginning with a 9:30 a.m. service at Union Cemetery, located on Bartlett Road in Mound. Long Lake Mayor Tim Hultmann will be guest speaker.
The next service will begin at 10:15 a.m. at St. Georges Cemetery, 401 Willow Drive in Long Lake, and the last ceremony is scheduled for 11 a.m. at Nelson Lakeside Park, 1860 Symes St. in Long Lake.