Spectators wearing festive red, white and blue lined up 160th St. SE and County Rd 44 to honor fallen veterans on Memorial Day, Monday, May 31, after last year’s events were canceled due to COVID-19.
Saint Michael and Saint Paul’s Lutheran Cemetery, 5437 160th St. SE, was adorned in American flags a few days earlier by VFW Post 6208 and auxiliary members. The parade kicked off at Twin Oaks Middle School, 15860 Fish Point Rd., traveled west along 160th St. SE and County Rd 44 and ended at Memorial Park.
This year’s parade was slightly smaller but participants including Honor Guard, Marine Corps League members and boy and girl scouts still marched patriotically as they waved and tossed candy to children.
Jeff and Trish Peterson, residents of Savage, along with with their two dogs, Bella and Patches, said they watch the parade every year to show their support.
“We just want to support all of the veterans and all those who lost their lives and fought for our freedom,” said Trish. “This is the best way we can do it. We come every year.”
Jeff, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, said he and his wife enjoy seeing the community honor those who have lost their lives for their country.
“My favorite part is seeing the military trucks, the VFW and buying the flags from the American Legion,” said Jeff. “It’s just fun to see everyone and celebrate that.”
As for Trish, she said her favorite part about the parade is watching all the children and younger generations participate in the ceremonies.
Remembrance ceremonyAfter the parade, a remembrance ceremony was held at Memorial Park where a few hundred community members paid their respects.
Guest members included Mayor Kirt Briggs, Sen. Eric Pratt and Rep. Tony Albright.
Albright said Memorial Day isn’t just about the start of summer or barbeques — it’s about the men and women who died in action for their country.
“Memorial Day is viewed by many as the official start of summer. It gives people the opportunity to spend an extra day at the lake, some work out in the yard and others fire up the grill with family and friends,” Albright said. “All these are American traditions. But none of these would be happening though without the sacrifices made by those who died in service to our country.
“Memorial Day is a time to pause and reflect, remember and appreciate those who have given the ultimate sacrifice as a service to our nation,” Albright added. “These are the bravest of the brave, courageous men and women, who died defending our freedom and liberty we hold so dear.”
Briggs noted this year marks the 75th anniversary of VFW Post 6208.
“It also marks the 75th anniversary of us meeting together to rightfully observe this most important day, Memorial Day. Americans owe a debt of gratitude to the courageous men and women who lost their lives to protect the very liberty and freedom upon which our country was founded,” Briggs said. “The City of Prior Lake and the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community have a deep commitment to serving the country in the armed forces. The commitment is tangible as Prior Lake is recognized as a Purple Heart city honoring those veterans wounded or killed in action.”
Auxiliary members laid wreaths upon six crosses representing local cemeteries where veterans are buried as well as Fort Snelling National Cemetery. A total of 1,351 names were read during the ceremony.