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Service, sacrifice on display in Cannon Falls

Cannon Falls Military History Museum owner Vince Cockriel, a Vietnam War-era Marine, has been collecting war memorabilia for decades. His collection includes hundreds of authentic uniforms. (MICHAEL BRUN/FORUM NEWS SERVICE)

CANNON FALLS — Military service runs deep in Vince Cockriel’s family.

There was Aunt Elsie, a World War II telegraph operator; Uncles Jim and John, a Marine and tail gunner, respectively; Uncle George, a special agent who guarded California docks from spies and saboteurs; and his father, William, a Navy aviator and Army Air Corps member who flew in combat tours over Saipan — just to name a few.

The artifacts of his family history, as well as hundreds of other pieces from World War II, will be on display to the public this weekend at Cockriel’s newly opened Cannon Falls Military History Museum at his home off County Road 24.

A labor of love for the retired Edina parks department superintendent, Cockriel said the museum is the culmination of decades of collecting military memorabilia.

The exhibit features authentic uniforms and equipment, complete with names and photographs of the men and women who used them.

Cockriel said he designed the display as a profile of the World War II era, including the military branches, homefront activities, the role of women and the impact of American industry on the war effort.

More than a venue to show his vast collection of pieces — estimated somewhere in the hundreds of thousands spanning all the major 20th century American wars — Cockriel said the museum gives area veterans a chance to reminisce and share experiences from their youth.

Michael Brun

Michael Brun joined RiverTown Multimedia at the Red Wing Republican Eagle in March 2013, covering county government, health and local events.  He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls journalism program.

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