East Grand Forks' Memorial Day ceremony held, despite rain
As storms passed through Greater Grand Forks Monday morning, it prompted the Legion/VFW to bring most of the ceremony indoors.
EAST GRAND FORKS — Many people celebrate Memorial Day with picnics and parades, but there's a deeper reason for the holiday and it's important to always remember that, said the keynote speaker at East Grand Forks' annual Memorial Day commemoration.
"The reason that there is a Memorial Day, the reason that we are gathered here, is to remember those who made our way of life possible," said Terry Buraas, of American Legion Post 157. "They truly are the guardians of our freedom."
Buraas spoke for about eight minutes on Monday during an amended version of the community's typical Memorial Day service. As storms passed through Greater Grand Forks Monday morning, it prompted the Legion/VFW to bring most of the ceremony indoors. Although the Honor Guard still gave its traditional salute at Resurrection Cemetery on the city's north side, the rest of the program was held indoors, at the Legion, as rain continued before noon.
It turned out better than the event hoped for by their counterparts in Grand Forks, who were forced to outright cancel traditional services earlier in the day as a pouring rain, accompanied by lightning, ruined the morning.
With Buraas, commander of the Legion's Ninth District, serving as master of ceremonies, East Grand Forks' indoor version of the event got underway at approximately 11:30 a.m., about a half-hour after the salute at the cemetery.
"From the American Revolution to the global war on terrorism, more than one million American veterans have made the supreme sacrifice," Buraas said. "They died so that we can continue to cherish the things they loved: God, country and family. That is why we gather here on Memorial Day, to join the memory of our fallen warriors who gave everything for their country."
He said it's important to remember that "brave men and women have always stepped forward to take the oath of allegiance of America's armed forces, willing to fight and, if necessary, die for the sake of freedom."
The event — including the short portion outdoors — included a prayer and benediction from Jack Chatt, chaplain of Legion Post 157; raising of the colors by Steve Jacobson and Mike Coleman, commanders of the local Legion and VFW posts, respectively; placing of the wreaths by Bev LeTexier; the Honor Guard salute by members of both the Legion and VFW posts and led by Sergeant at Arms Vince Liddy; and Chatt's reading of the "roll call of departed comrades," which numbered 49. Taps was played by Ethan Custer, of Grand Forks.