In lieu of the usual Historical Happenings the following is offered:
Give Them a Moment This upcoming Memorial Day please make it a point to find and visit the gravesite of at least one of those for which the federal holiday was meant to honor. Originally called Decoration Day, it was designated to commemorate all American military personnel who died during all wars. [ Not to be confused with Veterans Day which is a day which celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans.] Originating after the Civil War in 1868, when the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of Union veterans founded in Illinois, designated Decoration Day as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the Union war dead with flowers. As years, more wars and war dead came to pass and the need of remembrance for so many it became Memorial Day to many. The name did not become common until after WW2 and not declared the official name until 1967. On June 28, 1978 congress passed the Uniform Monday Act which moved Memorial Day along with 3 other holidays from their traditional dates in order to create a convenient three-day weekend. Changing the date merely to create a three-day weekend has undermined the very meaning of the day. No doubt it has contributed a lot to the general public’s nonchalant observance of Memorial Day and just considering it the entrance of summer fun.
So among all those graves marked by our nations Colors, find the graves of those who died while serving. Searching for this special grave may require a bit of research on your part. Contact the cemetery caretaker or a member of the cemetery board of trustees to determine if the cemetery you visit has a grave of a war dead. Your efforts will be rewarded when you discover the gravesite. As you pause at graveside, gently brush your finger tips across the small “Old Glory” who waves proudly over the grave. Touch the monument and read its inscription. Remember the name. Imagine the individual standing there in their uniform of that era. Remember the grave location so you can visit again. Give thanks as you stand at graveside and say a prayer for a safe return to those currently serving. Because of their ultimate sacrifice you have the freedom and opportunities today that they helped preserve.
This may help you in finding the following and enjoy the somber search. Information on additions and corrections are welcomed. I apologize if I have left out a name. If so or you can contribute more information, please contact me.
Mazeppa Public and Catholic Cemetery has 4 graves of those who were killed on the battlefield and 2 that died of disease or illness. Devillo Ford: The son of Mazeppa founder, Joseph Ford, died of malaria during the First Battle of Murfreesboro, Tennessee during the Civil War. George Ahneman: Killed in France while serving with the 54th Pioneer Infantry Regiment. The inscription reads that he is buried at St. Michael, France. Lester Frederiksen: Killed in France in WW1 while serving in a machine gun battalion. Vincent Tri: Killed when his Sherman tank was consumed in fire from a well fortified Japanese force on Okinawa in 1945. Lt. Earl Goodman: Killed in the early hours of the allied attack and foothold on the German homeland. Lt. Goodman was with the 17th airborne and entered Germany via glider on March 24, 1945 and killed later that morning. Haskel Johnson: died while serving in WW2 John O’Connel: Died while serving in WW1 [circumstances unknown]
Look for these when visiting Dale Pleasant Prairie Cemetery. WW1 servicemen James Books and Carl Wyatt. At East Zumbro, near Hammond, find Marvin Dickman and at the Zumbro Falls Cemetery, George D Cole. Again, remember the names and find out all you can about them. Have discussion about them with people who may have remembered them or family members.
Take notice of the flag pole in front of S.S. Peter and Paul Catholic church in Mazeppa on which the inscription there on. Yale Squire died while training men to pilot the airplane in France early in WW1. Yale was the son of a prominent family in Mazeppa. A successful newspaper carrier awaited Yale after graduating but instead volunteered for service to his country.
Also, do visit the Mazeppa Veterans Memorial and find some of these same names listed above along with others such as Robert Mannhalter, killed in WW2 and Paul Edmond, killed in 1969 while attacking an NVA position in South Vietnam.
On Memorial Day, the flag of the United States is raised briskly to the top of the staff and then slowly lowered to the half staff position, where it remains only until noon. It is then raised to full staff for the remainder of the day. The half staff position remembers the more than one million men and women who gave their lives in service of their country. At noon, their memory is raised by the living, who resolve not to let their sacrifice be in vain. The “National Moment Of Remembrance” established by Congress in December of 2000 asks Americans, wherever they are at 3 p.m., local time, on Memorial Day, to pause in an act of national unity for one minute. The time of 3 p.m. was chosen because it is the time when most Americans are enjoying their freedoms on the national holiday and is intended to be an act of national unity in which all Americans, alone or with family and friends, honor those who died in service to the United States.