May 28th, 2024 by Gary Osberg

When I was a youngster in Upsala, we always had a Memorial Day service in the school gym, followed by a parade down Main Street. Sometime after I graduated Upsala High School in 1961, the practice died out. Then in the 80’s, Lorna Koehn, a member of the Upsala American Legion Auxiliary, brought back the Memorial Day Celebration in Upsala. I can still picture her marching in front of a group of children, each holding a bunch of lilac flowers.

This year the Memorial Day celebration in Upsala will start with a program at 10am in the school gym.  Following the indoor ceremony, the celebration will proceed to the Veterans Memorial Park directly across the street. The Upsala American Legion has constructed a monument to Veterans from the Upsala area.  Last year they built a building that serves as a museum displaying military artifacts. My dad’s WW2 Navy Uniform is on display. He served as a Radarman on the U.S.S. Vammen, a destroyer escort in the Pacific.   At the end of another short ceremony, the children will wait in anticipation for the chance to collect the spent brass shells after the 21-gun salute. They make good whistles.

After that, there will be a parade through Upsala, ending at the City Recreation Building where the `Upsala First Responders’ will serve a picnic lunch.  Hopefully, there will be some “Bee Bop A Ree Bop Rhubarb Pie”. Whenever you meet a veteran or a service member, simply say “Thank you for serving”. They all deserve our respect.

“My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”  John Fitzgerald Kennedy

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