Memorial Day Wrap: The Many Ways Northlanders Remembered our Fallen Soldiers

By KBJR News 1

May 27, 2013 Updated May 27, 2013 at 9:33 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) - For many Memorial Day is a celebration of the past, present and future of of those who have, are, and will serve our country in their lives.

And what better way to honor those for their service than throwing a parade jam–packed with patriotic pride?

That was the case in West Duluth on Monday as hundreds of Northlanders lined the streets to pay tribute.

It's a lot of work to organize the masses, "...but it's worth it," says Parade Co-Coordinator Karin Swor, "it is worth every minute of it for our fallen soldiers. They're worth every single, solitary minute of it."

Twice wounded Vietnam veteran Brad Bennett says it's his mission to march in the parade for those who never made it home to have the opportunity.

"It means I've got to be here if it's cold—it doesn't matter. I've got to be here to honor them," said Bennett--a twice-wounded Marine Corps veteran.

That was also the mission of the Honor Guard and other Northland veterans' associations during this day of rememberance and reflection.

Many veterans stress that Memorial Day is anything but another day off work.

"Today is a solemn day of remembrance," said Holly Ericson, Commander of the Disabled American Veterans, Chapter Six.

In Gary on Monday hundreds of Northlanders gathered in silence to commemorate the latest additions to the war memorial, which aims to include every soldier from the West End communities—dead or alive—that have served, with particular emphasis on the spirit of those from out west.

"The communities of Gary, Riverside, Smithville, Fond du Lac, and places like that... grew up with strong, hearty work ethics.They loved America, they respected America—many of them had come here as immigrants," said Bennett, during his speech in front of the new memorial.

But for many veterans, and their friends and family, the most fitting way to honor the holiday is with solemnity and silence amidst the tombstones of soldiers who have given the ultimate sacrifice.

"That's who we honor. with this service throughout the nation and we need to continue that, people need to know that;s why we have Memorial Day," said Wilson Spence, of the Commander Post 71 American Legion.

...ensuring those gone are never forgotten.

Additions to the Gary, New Duluth War Memorial include the finished bronze plaques that feature the latest additions to the memorial.

- Posted to the Web by Billy Wagness