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A perfect day to remember

Community gathers for annual Memorial Day program

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Sarah Nystrom reads Abraham Lincoln's 1863 Gettysburg Address during the May 31, 2021 Memorial Day program at Worthington's Centennial Park. (Ryan McGaughey/The Globe)

WORTHINGTON — Weather conditions couldn't have been much better Monday morning as military veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice were remembered during the community's Memorial Day program.

The annual event, typically hosted in Chautauqua Park, took place in Centennial Park this time around because of ongoing construction and improvements. With cloudless skies, a light breeze and temperatures considerably warmer than those during the past few days, it certainly felt like the unofficial first day of summer.

As has become customary, Worthington High School teacher Linda Neugebauer served as master of ceremonies for the program. She was accompanied by three individuals who shared Memorial Day-themed readings as well as the "Amazing" Worthington City Band, which made its initial 2021 public appearance under the direction of Mike Peterson.

Following the salute of the dead by the American Legion and VFW Color Guard and Firing Squad and the sounding of "Taps," Neugebauer led program attendees in the Pledge of Allegiance, and an invocation was shared by the Rev. Del Bolluyt after a performance of "America."

The first reading of Monday's Memorial Day program was Abraham Lincoln's famed Gettysburg Address, which was spoken by Sarah Nystrom. While its opening words of "four score and seven years ago" are likely immediately recognizable to most Americans, much of the lesser-known text may have been heard as relevant to today's America.

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"It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task— remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth," states the final sentence of Lincoln's address, which was first delivered on Nov. 19, 1863.

General John A. Logan's Memorial Day Order was read by Barbara Wendt, and the often-recited warm poem "In Flanders Fields" — written during World War I by Canadian physician and Lt. Col. John McCrae — was spoken by Quinn Benz.

Other selections performed by the city band, which was playing in Centennial Park for the first time, were "America the Beautiful," "Nearer My God to Thee," "Navy Hymn," "Service Men's Salute" and "The Star Spangled Banner."

Related Topics: EVENTS
Ryan McGaughey arrived in Worthington in April 2001 as sports editor of The Daily Globe, and first joined Forum Communications Co. upon his hiring as a sports reporter at The Dickinson (North Dakota) Press in November 1998. McGaughey became news editor in Worthington in November 2002 and editor in August 2006.
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