PHOTOS: Memorial Day ceremony held at Hastings Roadside Park

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Several hundred people braved the potential rain and storms Monday, May 29, to attend the Memorial Day ceremony at Hastings Roadside Park put on by VFW Post 1210, American Legion Post 47 and their Ladies Auxiliaries. The program was just one of many that day, with others held at locations like the Minnesota Veterans Home and the Soldiers and Sailors Cemetery.

The keynote speaker of the event was Rev. John Echert, a lieutenant colonel and chaplain in the U.S. Air Force. Echert served as an active-duty chaplain while stationed in the Middle East twice and at the main military casualty hospital in Landstuhl, Germany. He has also served in the Air Force Reserves and Minnesota Air National Guard. Echert spoke about how an important way to remember those who have fallen is through telling their stories. He went on to tell several that have appeared in movies and that he was told during his many years of service.

The Master of Ceremonies for the morning was Richard Hullander and Mayor Paul Hicks greeted everyone to start the event. Gordon Gathright sang the national anthem and then concluded the ceremony with a medley of patriotic songs, while Pastor Paris Pasch presided over the opening and closing invocations.

Two winners of Hastings essay contests read their entries in front of everyone who gathered. Samuel Krehbiel, the winner of this year's Patriot Pen award, read about the America he believed in, while Voice of Democracy winner Rebecca Schill read about what she believed people's role in our democracy is.