American Legion colors

Legion members from southeast Minnesota gather for a Veterans Day dedication ceremony at the new regional veterans cemetery in Preston, Minnesota. This year, a Veterans Day ceremony may look a little different in some cities. 

By Jordan Gerard

Editor, The Caledonia Argus

As COVID-19 has changed many events this past year, area American Legion Posts and VFWs are looking for ways to still honor veterans on Nov. 11. 

Ceremonies traditionally held at schools have either found new locations or moved to a virtual presentation, as schools have temporarily adopted a “no visitors” policy due to COVID-19. 

Caledonia American Legion Post 191 plans to hold a drive-up dinner at the Four Seasons Community Center on Nov. 11, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., Commander Arlyn Pohlman told the Argus. Earlier that day, Legion members plan to post the flag at the elementary school for the fifth grade class. 

Caledonia High School’s Student Council plans on putting together a program, with each piece of the program produced by a student organization or Student Council members. 

The program will feature a flag-raising ceremony by the FFA, prose and poetry readings honoring veterans, the Missing Man Table Ceremony and a segment on parade and flag etiquette geared toward helping students.

Other features include five facts about Veterans Day, information about the Armed Forces, facts about Arlington National Cemetery, a musical selection and a keynote address from Jeff Babinski. 

The video will be released on Veterans Day at 11 a.m. and it will be posted on the school’s webpage, on Facebook and in Schoology. 

Teacher Terri Larson said they needed to find a way to honor our veterans while still abiding by our COVID-19 learning plan.

She added some classes will be sending out thank you notes. The school has also created a Wall of Honor in the commons area that salutes local veterans and has a colored star bearing their name. A drive-up lunch for veterans was also planned. 

In Spring Grove, Commander Gary Buxengard said the American Legion Post 249 plans to hold the ceremony at the Fest Building, at 10 a.m. featuring the traditional honor guard and speaker. It was unclear if Boys and Girls State speakers will be talking about their experience. Social distancing will be expected and attendees will collect their own chair from the rack and space themselves accordingly. 

A veterans supper will be held on Nov. 11, from 5 to 8 p.m. with dine-in, take out or delivery options available. Red’s IGA is catering the meal. The cost is $8. 

Brownsville VFW plans to host a dedication ceremony for its soon to be new veterans memorial near the community center. The ceremony is set to begin at 11 a.m., held rain or shine, along with social distancing and mask-wearing, member Ed Gittens said. 

Houston American Legion Post 423 legionnaire John Guywitz said the elementary school normally hosts the program and the Post would likely not participate this year, due to a majority of the member population being in the most high-risk category for COVID-19. 

La Crescent American Legion Post 595 may plan a dinner for its members, but at this time, no activities will be held for the public due to the COVID numbers, Commander Greg Lucas said.

Hokah American Legion Post 498 plans were in the works but were not immediately available by press time on Monday, Nov. 2.

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