While many Americans associate Memorial Day with long weekends and barbecues, Plymouth Beyond the Yellow Ribbon and its partners invite the community to acknowledge the true meaning as part of a Memorial Day program 11 a.m. Thursday, May 24, at the Plymouth Veterans Memorial.
The program developed this year as veterans groups sought to not only honor the holiday, but also differentiate it from Veterans Day, explained Gary Goldetsky, president of Plymouth Beyond the Yellow Ribbon.
“They get blended together in people’s minds,” Goldetsky said, explaining while the two both honor veterans, Memorial Day is “a day to remember the human sacrifices and cost that have been paid for our freedom.”
The day was first observed in May 1868 as a way to commemorate the sacrifices of the Civil War. However, after World War I, Memorial Day became a celebration of honor for those who died in all America’s wars, as well as veterans and members of the U.S. Armed Forces.
To make that possible, several organizations and community groups have come together, such as the Hamel VFW, the Plymouth Lions, and the City of Plymouth. “Everyone cooperated beautifully for the event to happen,” he said.
The program will be at the city’s Veterans Memorial, on the southwestern corner of the Hilde Performance Center at 3400 Plymouth Boulevard. The memorial was dedicated in June 2015 and includes a wall dedicated to honoring veterans.
As part to the program, Jennifer Rodgers, military spouse and vice president of Plymouth Beyond the Yellow Ribbon, will talk about the importance of remembering the families of service members.
Jim Heimerl, VFW Commander and Vietnam veteran, will speak about honoring the fallen.
Goldetsky will talk about keeping remembrance alive, and will reference the American Dream Oak tree sponsored by the organization to be a living piece of the memorial.
The event will also include music by the Plymouth Concert Band, invocation by Chaplain Craig Muri of Parkers Lake Baptist Church, and a solo of “America the Beautiful” by Andrew Nelson. Nelson is a Wayzata High School senior who performed in the Minnesota All State Choir. He has been selected for a Minnesota Ambassadors of Music Choir, which will tour this summer in Europe.
“I think that we should remember the human sacrifice all the days ... So much has been given for our safety and freedom, it would be unfair to not acknowledge the cost,” said Goldetsky.
If you go:
The Plymouth Memorial Day Program will be 11 a.m. Thursday, May 24, at the Plymouth Veterans Memorial, located adjacent to city hall and near the entrance of the Hilde Performance Center.
• Pre-program: Plymouth Concert Band Brass Quintet
• Welcome: Daryl Acker, U.S. Army, OIF Veteran 2007-2008 & Medtronic Veteran Employee Resource Group
• Posting of the Colors and Pledge of Allegiance: VFW Post 5903 Color Guard
• Invocation: Chaplain Craig Muri, Parkers Lake Baptist Church
• “America the Beautiful:” Andrew Nelson, accompanied by Mary Fadden, Wayzata High School
• “Remembering the Families;” Jennifer B. Rodgers, military spouse & Plymouth Beyond the Yellow Ribbon vice president
• “Honoring the Fallen:” Jim Heimerl, U.S. Marine Corps, Vietnam Veteran 1966-1967 & VFW Commander
• “Keeping Remembrance Alive:” Gary Goldetsky, Plymouth Beyond the Yellow Ribbon president
• Moment of Silence: Daryl Acker
• Retiring of the Colors and “Taps:” VFW Post 5903 Color Guard