Last year’s local Memorial Day observances were perhaps the most solemn in recent history, with an unknown pandemic lurking and cemetery services absent most visitors except for Color Guard.

Memorial Day 2021 will be different.

This coming Monday, May 31, in person attendance is welcome at the eight area cemetery services and the traditional Memorial Day ceremony will return to City Square Park, starting at approximately 11 a.m.

Following cemetery visits, the Color Guard, auxiliary and other marchers, accompanied by the Waconia Marching Band, will process through downtown to the park for the Memorial Day program, according to American Legion Post 150 event organizers.

Featured speaker is retired Navy Lt. Commander Mike Peterson, who flew 269 combat missions in Vietnam in 1968-1969 aboard Huey helicopter gunships. The Chaska veteran was awarded 17 air medals for service and the Purple Heart.

Other speakers include Carrigan Dock and Bram Fitzsimonds, who will read their winning essays in the Waconia VFW & Auxiliary’s Voice of Democracy competition with the theme: “Is this the country the founders envisioned?”

Councilman and Waconia High School social studies teacher Carl Pierson also will offer remarks.

The Legion Auxiliary will place some 300 American flags along the walkways at the park that the public is invited to take.

There will even be hot dogs and chips served after the ceremony.

In the event of inclement weather, indoor observances will be held at Bayview Elementary School.

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