132 YEARS OF SERVICE to Southern Minnesota
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To those who were vigilant so we could rest.

Who give everything that we might thrive.

Who are silent that we may breathe free.

We honor you.

For more than 240 years, Americans have been sacrificing their lives in battlefields worldwide, no matter the place or cause, their loss is equally meaningful. We pay tribute to all 1.2 million on this special 150th anniversary, 1866-2016.

According to the VFW, American have lost their lives in some 83 wars and assorted actions in the past 241 years. Most of the casualties occurred in a dozen or so major wars. But that does not lessen the sacrifice of those killed in the numerous and mostly forgotten expeditions in the far flung corners of the globe. Wherever any American in uniform is killed by hostile enemy action it is meaningful, and that loss must be remembered and forever recognized.

The number of American war dead from 1775-2016 is staggering.  Sadly, the combined total of Union and Confederated soldiers that died during the Civil War was 204,070. World War II contributed nearly 293,121 with an additional 115,185 non-hostile deaths and World War I 53,513 and 63,195 non-hostile. The Vietnam War added 47,434 to that number and in only three years in Korea a massive 33,739 people lost their lives.

Memorial Day is probably the most important day in the nation’s calendar in regards to the number of people who has given more than the veterans.

I think of the youthful faces of “kids” who gave their all and what were they thinking when they knew what their outcome may be. Surely they will have a special place in heaven because they’ve already been through hell.

You can read books and watch movies and feel empathy and cry, but you cannot possibly know what goes on in the mind of those who go to war.

With war, certainly there were more forgotten heroes and veterans who died with no one to claim their remains or acknowledge their service. Some were never found.

Memorial Day has become a day for remembering and paying tribute to all our loved ones — not just those who died from to protect our country.  hat is as it should be but we should remember this day was set aside to honor and remember our veterans.

I didn’t know Eugene Ottesen, but my mother did and speaks of him often. He was just a little kid who looked even younger than he was — with just enough Danish blood to be stubborn and tough, loyal and loveable. 

When his sister Kathy sent copies from the books that told about Corporal Ottesen and what he did in the Korean War for his fellow soldiers, my mother said said she would have no doubt believing it. He was that kind of a guy.

There are two books, “The Bloody Road to Panmunjom,” by Edwin P. Hoyt, and “The Coldest Winter,” by David Halberstam, that make reference to Corporal Eugene Ottesen.

Included in the book, "The Coldest Winter", we read the following...."One of the keys to holding McGee's increasingly vulnerable position was a machine gun right in its center, being fired by Corporal Eugene Ottesen and his men. With a superb field of fire, Ottesen was able to cover a spur on a hill that the Chinese had to cross in order to reach them. So the Chinese had gone after his machine gun from the start, and sometime that night they had hit the first of his men firing it. That was when Ottesen himself took over. As long as Ottesen could fire, McGee was in a reasonably solid position. But the Chinese threw wave after wave of men at the position. Ottesen never panicked, even though he knew he was a marked man. He kept firing - short, tight bursts - undoubtedly, like McGee, sure that he was going to die there. McGee marveled at Ottesen's bravery in such a terrible moment - true courage, he thought, from some secret storage place that few men had. Sometime around two in the morning, Chinese soldiers managed a Lob grenades into Ottesen's foxhole and suddenly the gun went silent. McGee yelled over to Sergeant Kluttz asking what happened to the machine gun, and Kluttz shouted back that the Chinese had knocked it out. Ottesen was dead, his body never recovered. He was eventually listed as MIA."

There were others like Eugene.

It always seems to me the ones who start wars aren’t the ones who have to fight in them.

What can we do? When there is an argument, think, Is it this worth it?” Doesn’t the Bible say, “Love One Another?”

Veterans‚ homes and hospitals need our attention. There are still veterans living and dying in the “jungles” of life. There are countless forgotten heroes, often homeless and unable to adapt to life after service and many other reasons. There are mortuaries which have held remains for years because they didn.t know what to do with them. They should not be forgotten.   

I remember my Uncle Paul would pick up good, usable clothing to take to the Veterans Home in Hastings because many had so little and no one to provide them with some necessary needs and pleasantries or gifts of kindness.

Do we know? Do we forget?  Remember the veterans. Thank them when you see them. Support the various service organizations who represent the interests of their fellow man. Honor our veterans.  They are countless and deserve to be recognized and assisted!

— — –

Birthdays and anniversaries:

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

• Friday, 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 28th: Sara Beth Carlson, her 7th; Lily Lee Olson, her 7th; Madalyn Kehne, Madison Catherine Knudson, Susan Schmidt, Marie Fowler, Rick & Jenny Loberg, Gerritt & Kathy Molenaar

• Sunday, May 29th: Brent Peterson, Deb Farr, Odean Otterson, Gene Pederson, Mark Butler, Ross Lein, Colin Quimby, Rod & Sandi Serdahl, John & Susan Oolman, Lily & Jerry Neitzel

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

• Tuesday, May 31st: Nathan Jensen, Jerry White, Pat Draayer, Ryan Sletten, Jim Hamor, Robert DuBois, Cierra Hanson

• Wednesday, June 1st: Carter Anthony Martens, Randy Hagen, Brandi Hagen, John Hanson, Bert Wiersma, Phyllis Benson, Joe Wallace, Julie Dulas, Kenny Toft, Maria Misgen, Tony Sommers, Bob Flim, Glenn Gerdes, Lindsey Lembke, Denise Evenson Wilson, Jeff & Sharon Lageson, Orville & Mavis Langlie and Joshua Kasper & Lyndsey Smith 2015

May you find joy and pleasure all around you on your special day.


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