Finally a reality. Minneota Veteran’s Park, adorned with flags, memory crosses and the “Pavers” honoring area heroes, was dedicated Monday, Memorial Day. Mayor John Rolbiecki and Commander Jim Fink did the honors of commemorating the new park.Minneota Auxiliary President Sandy Josephson represented the ladies and dedicated a rose to one of its members who passed away this past year.Guest speaker Col. Scott St. Sauver helped Fink contain his emotions during the ceremony.The new Veteran’s Park was shown off for the first time during Memorial Day Services on Monday. With the help of the VFW, other veterans, donations galore and physical labor from numerous veterans, the park has become reality.

Veteran’s Park is dedicated

After years of planning, taking the cause of the development of Veteran’s Park in Minneota as far as the Minnesota Legislature, Jim Fink stepped out of the American Legion Monday night to the tune of, “Raindrops are Falling on My Head.”

“We didn’t plan for this,” said Fink.

The commander of the Minneota American Legion spent countless hours raising the funding, developing the plan, even getting the Legislature to change a law so he could collect funding from the Lyon County Board.

Work on the new park went nearly “around-the-clock” in anticipation of Memorial Day services and the ribbon-cutting on the newly re-constructed park.

Flags were everywhere, the evergreens were brightly lit and the new walls of “pavers”, honoring the area veterans was in place.

There had been deadlines that didn’t get met — such as the lighting for the larger flags, concrete that was poured late and pavers that couldn’t be delivered on schedule.

But the show went on. Ever the weatherman weighed in with a downpour right at “showtime.”

But when Mayor John Rolbiecki and Fink finally cut the ribbon on the new park, it set into motion the culmination of all that hard work.

In a way, it was like the address Col. Scott St. Sauver delivered to the Memorial Day crowd moments earlier.

“Everywhere I go and talk to families, what they want is for their loved ones to be remembered,” St. Sauver said.

That, too, has been the credo Commander Fink has operated under during the entire Veteran’s Memorial project.

“They have earned the right to have this memorial,” he has said.

In fact, Col. St. Sauver reflected on the meaning of such memorials when he said, “For some of our veterans, we are unable to pay our respects.”

Referring to those Missing in Action and Prisoners of War, he said, “We will never forget them and never stop looking.”

Fink has operated by the same barometer ... keeping memories of fallen heroes alive. Col. St. Sauver spoke of the thousands of MIA’s still missing and he called them, “Everyday heroes.”

While others have helped, many have contributed financially in a variety of ways.

Mayor John Rolbiecki said it best when he told Fink, “This is your baby.”

Mayor Rolbiecki made it clear this was a big asset to the City of Minneota. The words of St. Sauver were still fresh when Veteran’s Park was dedicated. “It’s important to never forget ... too recognize the sacrifice.”

The Memorial at Veteran’s Park is an important step in that direction.

“That has not changed ... we have to do that,” St. Sauver said about remembering those who made the sacrifice.

The dedication of the Minneota Veteran’s Park and Memorial Day itself, helped celebrate, “The 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam war.”

And St. Sauver said, “Here’s a humble thank you from a grateful nation”.

He said he’s spent a lot of time explaining to soldiers the sacrifices made by the Vietnam Vets. “Thank them for their service,” he added.

Fifty years ago, in 1967, nearly 500,000 American troops served in South Vietnam, along with approximately 850,000 allies.

“During this Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War, we embrace our responsibility to help our Vietnam veterans and their families heal from the heavy toll of war.”

“More than 58,000 names are memorialized on the Vietnam wall.”

There are 1,253 heroes who have not yet returned to American soil from the Vietnam war.

“Never forget. There is no more relative time than on Memorial Day,” said St. Sauver.

“These are sacrifices that helped keep our country free.”

The new Minneota Veteran’s Park stands as such a tribute — and a reminder that such patriots, “Should never be forgotten,” said St. Sauver.

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