Memorial Day: Area communities to host Memorial Day services

The following area communities will host Memorial Day services. CROSSLAKE Annual Memorial Day services will be held Sunday, May 29, at Crosslake Lutheran Church. A traditional worship service will be at 8:30 a.m. At 10 a.m., a community-wide obse...

Kevin Gerdes

The following area communities will host Memorial Day services.


Annual Memorial Day services will be held Sunday, May 29, at Crosslake Lutheran Church. A traditional worship service will be at 8:30 a.m. At 10 a.m., a community-wide observance will be held at the Outdoor Worship Center on Daggett Pine Road, across from the Crosslake Community Center.

The Memorial Day celebration at the Outdoor Worship Center 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 through 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, S.D.


Veterans from World War II to the present will be honored. The theme of the day 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.

Guest speaker is Brigadier General (retired) Kevin Gerdes, Minnesota Army National Guard.

He is director of the Masters of Public Affairs and Capstone Programming at the University of Minnesota's Humphrey School. In that capacity he manages programs and is primary instructor for leadership and policy-related classes.

Gerdes has served in a variety of leadership positions with the Minnesota National Guard over his 33-year career, including commander at the company, battalion and brigade levels. He culminated his career in 2012 as deputy commander of the 34th "Red Bull" Infantry Division. He also served as chief of staff for Minnesota's adjutant general.

Gerdes completed a tour of duty in Iraq as a battalion commander and returned in 2006 to help establish Minnesota's "Beyond the Yellow Ribbon" soldier and family integration program as a model that was adopted by Congress in 2008 as national policy.

Gerdes attended St. John's University ROTC, earning his commission in 1982. He earned a Bachelor's Degree in management from Upper Iowa University, a Master's Degree in strategic studies from the U.S. Army War College, and a Doctorate in Leadership from the University of St. Thomas.

Gerdes and his wife, Mickey, live in Mahtomedi and have two sons - Tyson, a 2011 graduate of St. John's University who is serving as an executive officer for a Stryker Brigade in Alaska; and Patrick, a 2013 graduate of the University of North Dakota who is working in the Twin Cities.


His military awards include the Bronze Star Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal with Oak Leaf cluster, the Army Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf cluster, and the Meritorious Unit Citation.


The Pine River American Legion will host Memorial Day services Monday, May 30, at 9:30 a.m. at the dam in Pine River, 10:30 a.m. at the Pine River Cemetery and 11:30 a.m. at Swanburg Cemetery.


The Pequot Lakes American Legion Ben Krueger Post #49, the Jenkins VFW Northern Post #3839, and their respective Auxiliaries will jointly sponsor an annual Memorial Day program at 10 a.m. Monday, May 30, in the Pequot Lakes High School auditorium.

The program will feature several addresses, guest speaker Angela Gudahl, and patriotic music selections by the Pequot Lakes Men's Choir.

The Legion and VFW Color Guards will perform the ceremonials.

After the ceremony at the auditorium, the color guards will march to the Pequot Lakes Cemetery to present honors and then proceed down Sibley Avenue to Sibley Park. A wreath will be placed in Lake Sibley honoring departed Navy veterans. Boy and Girl Scouts will march along and the audience is invited to follow.


A light lunch will be served at the Pequot American Legion Club after the ceremonies.


The Crosslake/Fifty Lakes American Legion Post 500's annual Memorial Day ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. Monday, May 30, at the Crosslake Pinewood Cemetery.

Major Jon Kolstad, U.S. Air Force (Ret.), guest speaker, will give an address. Kolstad is the city of Crosslake planning and zoning representative for Crow Wing County.

The annual ceremony is to honor and remember deceased military veterans who served the country. There are 171 local veterans buried at Pinewood Cemetery who are identified with individual American flags at their gravesite. They will be recognized individually during the ceremony.

The ceremony will open with a flag presentation led by the American Legion Riders and the Crosslake Police Department. 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.

Nessa Engen, a Crosslake Community High School student and benefactor to the Legion Post to help serve military men and women, will lead the pledge of allegiance. Father Ryan Moravitz, pastor at Immaculate Heart Catholic Church, will give the invocation and benediction.

Engen and Todd Lyscio, director of Crosslake Community School, will read the names of the deceased veterans.

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


The Nisswa American Legion will host a Memorial Day remembrance event at noon Monday May 30, at the Nisswa American Legion.

Keynote speaker will be state Sen. Carrie Ruud, R-Breezy Point, and Brad Wallace will provide music.

Jim Starkey of Post 627 will be master of ceremonies.

The ceremony will begin by recognizing all families with members of their family currently serving in the military.

Wallace will perform renditions of "National Anthem," "The Lord's Prayer" and "God Bless the USA." The daughters of Scott Thurlow, an active member of Post 627 who passed away several years ago, will throw a wreath into Nisswa Lake in honor of all who died at sea.

Pastor Dianne Ciesluk will be chaplain. The color guard will perform a 3-gun salute.


The Rev. Stephan Rutherford of Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Backus will give the Memorial Day addresses Monday at Backus and Ponto Lake cemeteries conducted by the Backus American Legion and Auxiliary.

The Backus Legion tribute to deceased veterans who served their country will include singing of "America the Beautiful," remarks by Legion commander Eugene Gagnon and Auxiliary president Judy Deibel, and Ponto Lake Township clerk Brad McDonald.

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

Rutherford studied and obtained a master of divinity at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis. He was named pastor at Emmanuel Lutheran in July 2014. Rutherford was born in Denver, Colo., and moved with his family to a farm in Nebraska when he was 12. It was there where he says he gained an appreciation for rural life.

While enrolled in a doctorate program he met his wife, Tasha, which he said resulted in God putting his academic plans "on hold." The couple was married in February 2014 and had their first child in April of this year. Rutherford says he is grateful for the scenery in the Backus area, rural life, the community and the opportunity to minister here.

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


The Hackensack American Legion, Auxiliary and Sons of the American Legion will conduct Memorial Day services.

The services, conducted by the Auxiliary, will start at the Finnelly Cemetery just off 43rd Avenue Northeast at 1 p.m. Sunday, May 29. The Finnelly Cemetery contains the graves of about 30 early settlers to the Hackensack area. The first burial was 1900 and the last was 1923 when the cemetery was closed.

The cemetery fell into disrepair until it was reclaimed by the Auxiliary about 30 years ago. Some graves are unmarked, some are simply marked with a rock, while others are marked with a simple concrete or limestone marker.

At 10 a.m. Monday, May 30, the Hackensack American Legion Post 202, Auxiliary and the SAL will present a service at the Cass County Killed in Action Memorial in the Hackensack City Park. The service will include a parade to Boy River where a wreath will be placed to honor Navy veterans.

At 11 a.m. Monday, May 30, formal services will be held at the Hillcrest Cemetery. The service will include a roll call of deceased veterans from all conflicts, including some from the Civil War. Guest speaker will be Jeff Woodford, Cass County Veterans Service officer.

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

What To Read Next
"Hockey" is Pine River-Backus Elementary School's theme for the annual celebration of reading so the school teamed up with the boys high school hockey team
Fundraising is underway to move the giant ball of twine from the Highland, Wisconsin, home of creator James Frank Kotera, who died last month at age 75, 44 years after starting the big ball.
Inmates in-custody in the Mille Lacs County jail in Milaca, Minnesota
Inmates in-custody in the Hubbard County jail in Park Rapids, Minnesota