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Area communities to host Memorial Day services

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Pastor Judy Reitz Gustafson2 / 2

Area communities will host the following Memorial Day services:


Crosslake Lutheran Church will host its annual Memorial Day service Sunday, May 28, with a 10 a.m. community-wide observance at the Outdoor Worship Center on Daggett Pine Road across from the Crosslake Community Center baseball field.

This service will feature patriotic music; a bugler playing taps; a contingent of American Legion veterans led by Bob McPherson firing an honorary salute to the dead; and an aerial fly-over by the North Star Squadron, a group of four fixed wing aircraft flown by experienced pilots who participate in air shows throughout the Midwest. The leader of this squadron is Steve Knight, who has been an adviser to the Civil Air Patrol and now lives in Mission Hill, South Dakota.

Veterans from World War II to the present will be honored. The day's theme is "our continuing search for peace and goodwill among all people."

Those attending the ceremony may stay in their cars and listen to the service over the radio or sit outside on benches and chairs provided by the Outdoor Worship Center. Participants can bring lawn chairs and blankets as well

Guest speaker will be Lt. Col. Chip Rankin of the Minnesota Army National Guard. He is the commander of the second Battalion, 135th Infantry of Mankato, which traces its lineage to the Civil War. He is Pequot Lakes High School principal, and recently was hired as superintendent of the Minnewaska Area School District.

Rankin has served in a variety of leadership positions with the Minnesota National Guard. He enlisted on March 31, 1994, as a member of the 434th Main Support Battalion, and attended initial entry training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, and advanced individual training at Fort Lee, Virginia.

In 1995, he was accepted into the ROTC program at the University of Minnesota and in 1998, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant of infantry in the second Battalion, 136th Mechanized Infantry Battalion. He attended basic officer training and Airborne School. He held several leadership positions as a platoon leader, battalion S4 (logistics) and personnel officer (S1).

In 2005 he deployed to Iraq where he served as a company commander during the "surge" in Iraq. Upon redeployment he was promoted to major and served in various leadership positions until he was deployed to Afghanistan in 2011. He was an adviser to the Afghan army for nearly a year.

In 2014, he was promoted to lieutenant colonel and has served as the 34th Infantry Division G5, chief of plans, until he was appointed as commander of the second Battalion, 135th Infantry, his current position.

Rankin is married with four children.

Pequot Lakes-Jenkins

The Jenkins VFW Post #3839 and the Pequot Lakes American Legion Ben Krueger Post #49, along with their respective Auxiliary units, will host a Memorial Day service at 10 a.m. Monday, May 29, at Pequot Lakes High School.

The program will feature several addresses, including readings by high school speech students and guest speaker Sherri Beaupre.

Renee Anderson and the Pequot Lakes High School Boys Ensemble will provide patriotic music.

The VFW and Legion color guards will perform the ceremonials and then march to the Pequot Lakes Cemetery to present honors before proceeding down Sibley Avenue to Sibley Lake Park. A wreath will be placed in Sibley Lake to honor departed Navy veterans.

The Jenkins VFW will serve a light lunch after the ceremonies. There will also be a formal United States flag retirement ceremony at the VFW.

Pine River

Pine River American Legion Fraser-Nelson Post 613 and its Auxiliary will host Memorial Day services at 9:30 a.m. Monday, May 29, at the Pine River Dam in Pine River.

They will then journey to the Pine Ridge Cemetery in Pine River to pay honors at about 10:15 a.m.

A service will then be held at Swanburg Cemetery at 11:30 a.m.


The annual Memorial Day ceremony led by the Crosslake-Fifty Lakes American Legion Post 500 will be at 10 a.m. Monday, May 29, at the Crosslake Pinewood Cemetery.

Guest speaker is Steve Eisenreich, a Vietnam veteran and founder of the Homeless and Wounded Warriors-Minnesota. He spent 14 months in Vietnam with the 20th Combat Engineer Brigade, where he was awarded the Bronze Star for Meritorious Service.

The annual ceremony is to honor and remember deceased military veterans who served our country. There are 175 local veterans buried at Pinewood Cemetery who are identified with individual American flags at their gravesite and will be recognized individually during the ceremony.

The Homeless and Wounded Warriors motorcycle riders and Crosslake Police Department will lead a flag presentation. During the raising of the flag, John Carlson will sing the national anthem followed by Crosslake Community School students laying a wreath at the flagpole.

The ceremony will conclude with the Post Color Guard providing military honors.


The Nisswa American Legion will host its annual Memorial Day service at noon Monday, May 29.

There will be a full service with keynote speaker Sen. Paul Gazelka and guest speaker Sen. Carrie Ruud. The program is expected to run approximately one hour with complimentary sloppy Joe sandwiches after the service.


Pastor Judy Reitz Gustafson of St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Hackensack will give the Memorial Day addresses at Backus and Ponto Lake cemeteries conducted by the Backus American Legion, Auxiliary and Sons of the Legion on Monday, May 29.

The Backus Legion tribute to deceased veterans who served their country will include singing of "America the Beautiful" and remarks by Legion Commander Eugene Gagnon, Auxiliary President Sue Kostka and Ponto Lake Town Board Chairman Duane Larson.

The service will also include the laying of a memorial poppy wreath, a tolling of the bell for deceased veterans and spouses in the past year, a color guard rifle salute and the playing of taps.

Backus service will begin at 10 a.m. at the Evergreen Cemetery; the Ponto Lake service will follow the conclusion of the Backus memorial at approximately 11 a.m.

Gustafson was a registered nurse for several years. She has served on the board of Faith in Action of Cass County and currently serves on the board of the Family Safety Network in Cass County. She is also a chaplain for the Cass County Sheriff's Department.

She was raised in a military family and has lost relatives in World War I, the Korean Conflict and the Vietnam War. She lives in Longville with her husband, Mike, who is also an Evangelical Lutheran Church in America pastor. They have five grown children.


The Hackensack American Legion, Auxiliary and Sons of the American Legion will conduct Memorial Day services Sunday and Monday, May 28-29.

The first service, conducted by the Auxiliary, will start at the Finnely Cemetery just off 43rd Avenue Northeast at 1 p.m. Sunday, May 28. Finnely Cemetery contains the graves of about 30 early settlers to the Hackensack area.

At 10 a.m. Monday, May 29, the Hackensack American Legion Post 202, Auxiliary and the SAL will present a Memorial Day service that will start at the Cass County Killed in Action Memorial in the City Park. The service will include a parade to the Boy River where a wreath will be placed to honor Navy veterans.

At 11 a.m., a formal service will be held at Hillcrest Cemetery, which will include a roll call of 387 deceased veterans from all conflicts, including some from the Civil War. Guest speaker will be Pastor Andrew Johnson from The Lighthouse Church of Hackensack.

In the event of rain, services will be held at the Hackensack American Legion.