Princeton and Milaca commemorated Memorial Day with wreath hangings, prayer and speeches May 31.

Honor guard representatives from the VFW and American Legion in both cities visited cemeteries in the area to pay respect to fallen soldiers.

In Princeton the main event kicked off at 10 a.m. in the high school’s performing arts center. There, Barry Schreiber with the Mille Lacs County Historical Society, shared the story of a historic film footage he recently received.

The rolls of celluloid showed up at his office, containing archival footage of Princeton National Guardsmen being deployed to the Korean War and their daily training in Fort Rucker, Alabama.

Schreiber showed just over 3 minutes of the footage and highlighted moments when viewers could see three surviving veterans of the Korean War. Barry Hatch, Arnie Whitcomb and Earl Brooks were all honored during the presentation as they sat onstage and shared some of their memories with the crowd.

The film was shot by Charlie Henschel, who was tasked with the film making by Doc Reynolds, the then owner of the local Strand Theater.

Following the presentation representatives of the VFW and American Legion read off the names of the recently deceased before Luke Bourdeaux with Boy Scout Troop 16 read the Gettysburg Address. Soloist Michele Skeim then led the gathered crowd in singing “America” before the event moved to the Oak Knoll Cemetery.

At the cemetery wreaths were ceremoniously placed on a row of white crosses to acknowledge the fallen soldiers from each war the U.S. fought in.

Two Princeton High School students also gave readings. Lexi Lenk, 17, read the poem “In Flanders Field.” Emma Bast, 16, read her essay that won the VFW’s Voice of Democracy Contest.

In the essay Bast argued the United States was a greater country than the founders ever envisioned due to the enfranchisement of women and African Americans as well as the development of world changing technologies.

The Milaca ceremonies concluded in the Forest Hill Ceremony. Just after 11 a.m. the roll call of deceased veterans was given by Jim Pluimer and Bob Anderson. During the ceremony the Milaca High School Band performed as well.

As noon approached Daniel Carlson led the crowd in a prayer before Sergeant at Arms Mike Schummer conducted a salute to the departed with a firing squad.

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