Memorial Day ceremonies set to honor those who died in service to country

Veterans organizations plan events at area cemeteries to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice in U.S. wars and conflicts

Grand Forks Memorial Day 5.jpg
The American flag and the Grand Forks American Legion Post 6 flag are presented during a Memorial Day event on Monday, May 31, 2021, in Grand Forks. (Korrie Wenzel/Grand Forks Herald)
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GRAND FORKS – Veterans organizations throughout the region are planning Memorial Day ceremonies for Monday, May 30. The ceremonies will honor the memory of those in military service who died on land, sea or air in U.S. wars and conflicts.

In Grand Forks, a combined ceremony of the American Legion, Disabled American Vets and Veterans of Foreign Wars will begin at 9:30 a.m. Monday at Memorial Park North Cemetery on North Columbia Road and Gateway Drive.

The keynote speaker will be Col. Timothy Curry, 319th Reconnaissance Wing Commander at Grand Forks Air Force Base. Representatives of the auxiliaries of all the organizations – the Legion, DAV and VFW – also will be participating in the ceremony.

Guests should use the entrance nearest to 24th Street and 10th Avenue North to access the American Legion Gravesite, and look for large U.S. and North Dakota flags flapping in the breeze, said Dennis Almer, event organizer.

The ceremony is expected to last about 45 minutes; attendees are welcome to bring lawn chairs.


Former Mayor Michael Brown, Post 6 commander, will serve as master of ceremonies. The Post 6 Color Guard and Grand Forks Air Force Base Honor Guard will participate.

The invocation and benediction will be delivered by Michael Venaccio, Post 6.

Music will be provided by the Grand Forks All-City Band, directed by Janelle Huber. Taps will be performed by Herb Thomson, an All-City Band member. Readings will be given by Debra Muus and Jay Gunderson.

Presenting wreaths in memory of those who died in service to the country will be Diane Kraemer, member of the American Legion Auxiliary Unit 6, and Jackie Saddler, Disabled American Veterans Auxiliary Chapter 2.

“Casting the Wreath Upon the Water,” a traditional part of Memorial Day ceremonies, will be Diane Kraemer, and reading the poem “Cover Them Over,” another traditional ritual, will be Diane Knauf, American Legion Auxiliary Unit 6.

The Firing Squad Salute will be conducted by members of Grand Forks Air Force Base Honor Guard.

Col. Curry is the senior officer at GFAFB responsible for leading the premier Global Hawk wing, which consists of three groups, 14 squadrons, and three detachments; executing a $70 million budget; and employing aircraft, equipment and facilities valued at $3.8 billion.

Auxiliary members will also be distributing poppies on Saturday, May 28, at major retail outlets, including Wal-mart, Home of Economy, Hugo’s Family Marketplace stores, and others. Donations from the sale of poppies will be used to support local veterans and their families.


East Grand Forks, Manvel

In East Grand Forks, an honor guard, representing the American Legion Post 157 and VFW Post 3875, will fire and offer prayer at the following cemeteries: 8:30 a.m., Bethany South; 8:45 a.m., Bethany North; 9 a.m., Checz National at Tabor; 9:15 a.m., Holy Trinity Presbyterian at Tabor; 9:25 a.m., Holy Trinity Catholic at Tabor; 9:50 a.m., Nesbit Cemetery; and 10:20 a.m., Rest Haven Cemetery.

In East Grand Forks, the ceremony will take place at 11 a.m. at Resurrection Cemetery.

The guest speaker will be Terry Buraas, district commander for American Legion Post 157 in East Grand Forks.

In Manvel, Middle Grove Lutheran church will serve lunch following a 10:30 Memorial Day graveside service by the Manvel American Legion.

Chris Darnell, 40, died after a jet-powered semitruck vehicle crashed during the Battlecreek Field of Flight Airshow Saturday in Battle Creek, Michigan.

Pamela Knudson is a features and arts/entertainment writer for the Grand Forks Herald.

She has worked for the Herald since 2011 and has covered a wide variety of topics, including the latest performances in the region and health topics.

Pamela can be reached at or (701) 780-1107.
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