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Saturday June 24th 2017

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At the 147th Memorial Day Service “…increased devotion …for…last full measure…”

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“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…”

BY SUE HUNTER WEIR

“One of the benefits of being retired and old is that you can pick and choose…I tell you that because I’m here today because I want to be.  I appreciate this opportunity to address you today and for letting an old soldier feel important one more time.”

– Major General,Retired, Paul C. Rehkamp

Flags.  A band.  Junior ROTC cadets and a Major General.  Veterans.  And Taps. Everything that you need to have a perfect Memorial Day was there for the 147th annual Memorial Day Observance at Minneapolis Pioneers and Soldiers Memorial Cemetery.  And if our keynote speaker, Major General Rehkamp felt like an old soldier, he fooled everyone who heard his wonderful keynote speech.

The weather likely kept a few participants away but the service at Pioneers and Soldiers has always had a small-town feel.  The mood is fitting for a cemetery where Memorial Day, once Decoration Day, events have been held since the General Logan issued his order in 1868 that set aside one day a year to remember those who died in service to their country.

Major General Rehkamp reminded us that:

“[Memorial Day] is a national holiday and a very special day.  In America we acknowledge the special events in our history.  Each year we set aside time to  remember our war dead, to recognize the labor that built America, to give thanks for all we have.  These holidays mark significant events and have always been reason for ceremony and programs like this one here this morning.

This weekend we pause to spend a moment to reflect on Memorial Day and its true meaning.  We reflect on the how, when and especially the why we pay tribute to our war dead.

We know that this day was originally called Decoration Day.  That it’s roots go started with the Confederate dead and then expanded it to all Civil War dead. It was originally a day to honor military members who died in our nations Memorial Day has become the day we also remember all our family and friends and think about them and family and friends who have died.

However you and I must never…never ever…forget that the primary purpose of this day is to remember all those who died in service to America!”

Thank you to Major General Rehkamp, JROTC from Minneapolis Transitions School, the Seward Concert Community Band, American Legion Post #1, Boy Scout Troup 3082, and Mike Barth, City of Minneapolis Street Department, for giving all of us the opportunity to remember.

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