Left to right: Local veterans Harold DeSmet, Dave Hennen, Lon Gawarecki, Ed Lozinski, John DeSmet, Don Gorecki and Jim Fink were involved in the Retirement of Old Colors, which follows a dignified disposal of unserviceable American flags. Left to right: Don Gorecki, Harold DeSmet and Jim Fink properly dispose of over 200 American flags on Thursday afternoon behind the American Legion. Family members of those receiving new engraved pavers in Veterans Park pose following a brief ceremony on Thursday. St. Edward School seventh-grader Elizabeth Garvey reads the winning essay she wrote that enabled her to be awarded the Patriot's Pen by the Minneota-Taunton VFW. Local veterans stand for the Pledge of Allegiance at the St. Edward School Veterans Day program.

Veterans remembered for sacrifice, service to country

As American Legion Commanders Jim Fink read off the names of the 11 new pavers that were placed in the stands at Veterans Park, those in attendance braved the cold and blustery day.
"I think we can deal with this for a little while. They had it much worse than this," said one woman as she pointed to the names of the veterans on the pavers. "This day is for them, no matter what the weather is like."
Minneota American Legion Commander Jim Fink read off the names engraved on the new pavers -- Arnold Bot, Bernard Bot, Francis Bot, Raymond Bot, Richard Bot, Joseph Drown, Matthew Drown, Michael Drown, Paul Drown, Mayo Kuchera, and Andrew Traen -- as family members bundled in coats and blankets listened intently.
Fink also introduced and dedicated an eighth statue to the park, this one called "Freedom Fighter", which was placed in the park last Monday, Nov. 8.
The local veterans normally have a program at the school on Veterans Day, but had to postpone it this year due to the volleyball team playing in the state tournament.
St. Edward's School held a Veterans Day program with several local veterans on hand. Ed Lozinski explained flag etiquette and announced St. Edward seventh-grader Elizabeth Garvey as the recipient of this year's Patriots Pen Award given to the student in grades 6-8 who wrote the top essay on what Veterans Day means to them. Sam Myhre, a seventh-grader at St. Edward, was second. Piper Anderson, a sixth-grader at the public school, was third. Garvey will now be entered in the district competition.
Principal Jaci Garvey welcomed the veterans and had them all introduce themselves and lead the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance. A moment of silence was also held before closing with everyone singing "God Bless America".
At the public school, Dude Myhre, a 20-year enlisted soldier, entertained second-graders by talking about military life and displaying some of the items that soldiers wear and use. Myhre, who now lives in Ghent, graduated from Minneota High School.
Several homeowners displayed American flags in honor of veterans past and present.
Several local veterans then gathered on the north side of the American Legion building where the wind could best be blocked and help the with the dignified disposal of American flags. It is considered undignified for people to toss flags in the garbage.
"We had around 200 this year," Fink noted.
A ceremony to honor the flags before proper disposal was held downstairs at the Legion with the Legion Commander, Chaplain, Sergeant-at-Arms and Second Vice Commander all taking part in speaking.

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