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Honoring our heroes: Hundreds attend Heron Lake Memorial Day event

HERON LAKE -- Veterans, children and members of a motorcycle club were some of the nearly 500 attendees who took part Monday in the official dedication of Heron Lake Area Veterans Memorial.

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Attendees admire the Heron Lake Area Veterans Memorial Monday, commemorating the veterans and soldiers currently serving whose names are engraved on the granite structures. Alex Chhith/Daily Globe

HERON LAKE - Veterans, children and members of a motorcycle club were some of the nearly 500 attendees who took part Monday in the official dedication of Heron Lake Area Veterans Memorial.

Nearby residents brought lawn chairs to the event, hosted by the Herbert K Kellam American Legion Post 224, to help seat dozens of attendees who could not find empty chairs among the hundreds of families and veterans already inside the Heron Lake Community Center. Even with the additional seats, many had to stand during the program. The service included performances by the Heron Lake-Okabena High School band and choir, a roll call for deceased veterans and a speech by U.S. Rep. Tim Walz.
In his address, Walz spoke of the many heroic struggles made by those who sacrifice their lives for the United States of America.
Americans are able to enjoy their freedom and prosperity, he said, adding that American soldiers have helped spread freedom to countries like Afghanistan.

“But with privilege (of having freedom) comes responsibility,” Walz said, adding that Americans should commemorate those who fought for their freedom by living a life that respects present and past soldiers.
He concluded his speech with a story about American soldiers looking past their disagreements during World War II while fighting in Hiroshima. Walz related that an American rabbi soldier blessed Christian American soldiers. Though it was controversial at the time, they knew they had to put aside their differences.
The Memorial
The Heron Lake Area Veterans Memorial has nine large pieces of granite that have engravings of images of war and names of veterans and of fallen soldiers. Plans were drafted for the memorial in 2011 by the Area Veterans Memorial Committee, Post 224 Auxiliary member Carol Wagner said.
“People can put names on it forever,” she said, adding that a picnic area and florals will be added to the site.
Irene Easterday McCoy and husband Jim McCoy. a veteran, attended the event to commemorate Irene’s late husband, Walter Tordsen of Heron Lake. Tordsen was a soldier and was a police officer, she said.
Irene, a former Heron Lake resident, said she was proud of the committee for helping plan and build the memorial.
“I feel very patriotic looking at it,” said Jim, who served in the marines from 1955-58.
“My son would have liked to be here,” said Irene, who bought him a book that featured photographs and stories of 650 veterans featured on the monument for him to commemorate his father.
For more information about the monument, visit www.legionmemorial.org . For name engravings, contact Carol Wagner at (507) 793-2656.

Related Topics: VETERANS
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