By Jordan Gerard

Editor, The Caledonia Argus

Among the celebrations and typical events this time of year that have been canceled, the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted traditional Memorial Day ceremonies held by American Legion posts and Veterans of Foreign Wars posts around Houston County. 

No doubt disappointing that audiences cannot gather together to hear speeches, remember those who lost their lives while serving, rifle salutes and wreath layings, some posts do plan to hold a resemblance of the ceremonies. 

Though Caledonia American Legion Post 191 will not hold its program, they still plan to put flags on gravestones on Saturday, May 16 and later give out scholarships, perhaps in a limited setting, Commander Arlyn Pohlman told the Argus. 

Houston American Legion Post 423 will visit local cemeteries and perform the traditional rifle salute, taps and say a prayer on Memorial Day , starting at the Stone Church cemetery at 9:30 a.m. There will not be a program in the park this year. The public is welcome to watch, legionnaire John Guywitz said.

In Hokah, the American Legion Post 498 will not hold a parade this year, but will meet at the village park at 9:30 a.m. on Memorial Day. A speaker was in the works, and the Legion does plan to visit cemeteries and perform the rifle salute, legionnaire Craig Verian said. 

Spring Grove American Legion Post 249 will march color guard members from the school to Viking Memorial Park on Memorial Day at 9:45 a.m. It was unclear if a speaker would be available, but the rifle salute and wreath laying will take place, Commander Gary Buxengard said. 

Brownsville’s VFW post will put flags up and might do a rifle salute, but no official program was planned, member Shawn Virock said. 

And in La Crescent, American Legion Post 595 Honor Guard will visit local cemeteries to honor fallen comrades. Those wishing to observe the ceremonies are welcome to watch from their vehicles, due to state guidelines, Commander Greg Lucas said. 

The day will begin with Dresbach Cemetery 8:30 a.m.; Dakota Catholic Cemetery 8:45 a.m.; Dakota Public Cemetery 8:55 a.m.; Hiller Nodine Cemetery 9:15 a.m.; Nodine Lutheran Cemetery 9:25 a.m.; Toledo Cemetery 9:45 a.m.; Prince of Peace Cemetery 10 a.m.; Pine Creek Catholic Cemetery 10:10 a.m.; Crucifixion Cemetery 10:25 a.m.; South Ridge Lutheran Cemetery 10:40 a.m.; South Ridge Methodist Cemetery 10:50 a.m.; and Prospect Cemetery 11:05 a.m.

There will be a brief ceremony at approximately noon at the La Crescent Area Event Center where the names of the veterans who have passed away this last year will be read. Visitors must remain in their vehicles. Lucas said though it might be difficult to hear, the event will also be recorded and posted on the La Crescent Area Event Center Facebook page. 

Following the ceremony, the Post will have the annual chicken-Q at the event center. It will be take-out/drive up only. Each dinner is $10. The chicken-Q will begin after the ceremony and end at 3 p.m., or until we run out. Calling ahead is not necessary.

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