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With the Memorial Day observance soon upon us, many things come to mind.

For more than 100 years the Geneva Cemetery has been honoring those buried there. The first acre of land for the Geneva cemetery was donated by David and Emma Jones in 1885 and additions to the cemetery were purchased in 1919, 1959, and 1974. The Carl Gardner Jensen family were the first caretakers of the cemetery on the hill and through the years that position has been kept in the family. Five generations have continued as caretakers, including Julius Jensen, Walter Jensen, Earl and Esther Jensen, Jerry and Sharon Jensen, Jerry Jensen, Tom Jensen and now Sam Jensen have all served as caretakers and have done a wonderful job.

The Geneva Cemetery Board and others are to be commended for their devotion in keeping the cemetery on the hill a hallowed home.  Over the years a speakers platform was added to the cemetery as a memorial from the Orville Ingvaldson family in honor of their daughter, Beryl, and a large flag pole has also been erected.

The Geneva school children were always a part of the Memorial Day recognition even when other cemeteries were not paying a tribute to their "someones" who were no longer alive. My grandmother Hanson, along with the other school children in the early 1900s, took part in Memorial Day recognitions and it continued for a great many years.

I can remember when I was in grade school how the students at Geneva would prepare for that special recognition. We would practice how we would march into the cemetery. We also had to learn how we would get the rows of students turned around when it was time to exit the cemetery after the Memorial Day program had concluded.

When Memorial Day arrived the school children would gather at the old school, which was located on the west side of Central Avenue, in the 200 block, and they would march to the cemetery. The children brought lilacs and other spring flowers to place on the graves.

In my later years, when I was a member of the high school band, we always took part in the Memorial Day programs. One of the trumpet players each year was asked to play "Taps" and would move to a distant corner of the cemetery.

We have always had a very dedicated group of local veterans who took part in the Memorial Day remembrance and it continues today. The local American Legion Post #296 and the Veterans of Foreign Wars #8941 have been a part of this yearly remembrance and the Women's Auxiliary also takes part.

The Geneva Cemetery Board places flags at each of the veterans’ graves while the area service men and women place flags on the gravesites of veterans at a large number of area cemeteries. For a great number of years a memorial wreath was placed at the grave site of one of the local veterans in Geneva and now a wreath is placed at the speakers platform, which honors all veterans.

When I think of Memorial Day and what it stands for, the song, "God Bless The USA" by Lee Greenwood, also comes to mind.

If tomorrow all the things were gone,

I'd worked for all my life.

And I had to start again,

with just my children and my wife.


I'd thank my lucky stars,

to be livin here today.

'Cause the flag still stands for freedom,

and they can't take that away.


And I'm proud to be an American,

where at least I know I'm free.

and I won't forget the men who died,

who gave that right to me.


And I gladly stand up,

next to you and defend her still today.

'Cause there ain't do doubt I love this land,

God bless the USA.


From the lakes of Minnesota,

to the hills of Tennessee.

Across the plains of Texas,

From sea to shining sea.


From Detroit down to Houston,

and New York to L.A.

Well there's pride in every American heart,

and it's time we stand and say.


That I'm proud to be an American,

where at least I know I'm free.

And I won't forget the men who died,

who gave that right to me.


And I gladly stand up,

next to you and defend her still today.

'Cause there ain't do doubt I love this land

God bless the USA.


Birthdays and anniversaries:

• Thursday, May 21st: Tony Dodge, Christopher Flim, Tom Wilker, Joel Cooper, Ryan Parks

• Friday, May 22nd: David Eliason, Christine Thompson Krause, Lori Lembke, Scott Dirksen, Pat Horan, Mark Christensen, Jim Obermoller, Michael Sarver, Roger Thompson, Andrew Grunwald, Karla Hanson, Ernie & Sue Swenson, Chuck & Susan Grubish, Toni and James Perschbacker

• Saturday, May 23rd: Stephane Paul Martin, her 6th; Will Richard Utpadel, his 8th: Ilsbeth Wayne, Jeanne Simonson, Melissa Shaunce, Burton Borchert, Orville Langlie, Karen Quam, Rodney & Peggy Sorenson, Duane & Janice Morreim, Jeff & Sara Miller, Rebecca & Tim Brekke

• Sunday, May 24th: David Christensen, Marlyn Swearingen, Reta Draayer, Nina Widlund

• Monday, May 25th: Dakota Matthew Kath, his 10th: Riley Dean Disher, his 8th; Jack Harpel, Jackie Johnson Miller, Jim Pichner, Cara Christensen, Valerie Peterson, Richard Fetterly, Bill Nechanicky, Rick Miller, Deb Parks, Paul Reese, Troy & Kelly Utpadel, Dave & Barbara Van Gorkom

• Tuesday, May 26th: Jeff Wayne, Roger Wangsness, Natalie Hanson, Jim Cummins, Jennifer Beaber, Jeremy Beaber, Melissa Redmon, Karey (Kalakian) & Chris Shearman

• Wednesday, May 27th: Eileen Bergland, Lisa Hanson, Steve Jepson, Shane Callahan, Stacy Wobschall, Rev. Beaber, Theresa Kasper, Rick Loven, Carolee Broitzman George, Tracy Marcus, Lisa Hanson, Steve Jepson, Michael Butler, Steve & Karen Quam, Megan & Joel Cooper

• Saturday, May 30th: Payton Allen Misgen, Daniel Larson, Molly Hanson, Chuck Crabtree, Shirley Nelson, Julie & Toby Oquist

May your special day blossom with many reasons to smile!

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