WESTBROOK, Minnesota (STPNS) --         After attending memorial programs in Walnut Grove and Westbrook I am always encouraged by the number of folks who take time from the long weekend to honor our war dead. Both programs are very well planned by our local veterans organizations. In Walnut Grove the American Legion and Auxiliary prepare and conduct ceremonies, and in Westbrook the American Legion, VFW and their Auxiliaries conduct the ceremonies. Of course our neighboring communities also have similar ceremonies.

    In Westbrook the honor roll of fallen veterans is read. In Walnut Grove there is a listing of fallen veterans not only from the Walnut Grove area but other area cemeteries as well.

    Between the two communities and surrounding area there is roughly about 750 men and women who served their country in wars dating back to the Civil War, mostly from this area. I happened  to notice on the Walnut Grove program, those who died in combat or died while serving, were fewer than you might have believed. Of that number just 18 of those listed were killed in action or while on duty. I was somewhat surprised that the number was that low. None the less I have no less respect for our veterans who served both in peace time or during previous and current wars. I also would like to point out that while most came home to live their lives in freedom some came home with  physical as well as mental scars that those veterans have had to bear and are still bearing today. To me those who served and gave up the safety of the homeland to go to foreign soils to fight battles on foreign soil, or maybe as a support person who never leaves the states, they are all as important as those who paid the ultimate price.

    War is a nasty business that seems to have no upside, with the exception that in the case of our country and many other countries involved in them, the fight was to preserve the freedoms we all enjoy today.

    So when you meet someone in uniform or someone who has served before, remember those who went before us, and remember to thank them for their service.

Have a great week and do good!