When Waseca residents gathered for the Waseca County Memorial Day program on the south lawn of the county courthouse, it was a return to normalcy after last year’s program was cancelled due to COVID-19 and replaced with a pre-recorded celebration.
“We have all witnessed tremendous courage, and a test to our collective responsibility as Americans,” said David Wright, a Waseca psychotherapist and Air Force veteran who spoke at the program, referring to the pandemic. “We are all present here today through the actions of our public health response, and the social action by those who have stepped up and received the vaccination in an effort to mitigate the spread of the virus. Sacrifices by our community members, first responders, and our military, have continued to make safe and free our community and nation.”
The ceremony began with the raising of the flags, followed by a prayer by the Rev. Carolyn Doering of Faith United Methodist Church in Waseca, who also gave the benediction before the program’s end. Several songs were performed, including “America the Beautiful,” “Stop When You See a Uniform,” and “God Bless America.” Lucas Vasquez-Neigebauer, son of David and Kathryn Vasquez, read Abraham Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address,” which was first read in 1863 in honor of those who sacrificed their lives in the Civil War in an effort to keep the Union together.
A ceremony of the plaque was performed, as well as a reading of veterans who have died since Memorial Day of 2020 by Lamar Kuster, commander at American Legion Post 228 in Waseca and master of ceremonies.
The local VFW Post 1642 Rifle Squad performed a 21-gun salute, before taps was played by Gary Bohm and Delancy Sutlief to conclude the program.
“We honor those who have lost their lives while defending this nation,” Doering prayed. “We thank them for their sacrifice, and promise we will carry on their legacy to ensure they did not die in vain.”