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Veterans Services events at Rivertown Days to include hot air balloon

Rivertown Days will feature multiple Military and Veterans Services events on July 15-17, including a hot air balloon, Bells for Eternity, commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War and more.

Freedom Flight, a nonprofit, educational corporation that seeks to honor and increase the awareness of the still missing Prisoners of War-Missing in Action (POW-MIA) issues, will have a hot air balloon on display from 5-7 p.m. on July 15 in Wilson Park.

According to their website, Freedom Flight hot air balloons are meant for “publicizing the fact that Americans have been reported to still be alive in foreign countries and that only a ground swell of public support will bring them home.”

In addition to the display, the Freedom Flight hot air balloon will tether, which means it will go straight up in the air and then down. Dean Markuson, military and veterans services coordinator for Beyond the Yellow Ribbon, said the tethering will only occur weather permitting. It is scheduled for July 15 from 7-9 p.m. Limited rides will be available.

Bells for Eternity is a nonprofit organization that recognizes the sacrifices of the nation’s fallen heroes. Bells for Eternity will have a replica of the Liberty Bell at the event. The organization’s Facebook page says the bell toll signifies the passing of life. Bells for Eternity are tolled at funerals, memorials, reunions and fundraisers for active military, veterans, firefighters, paramedics, law officers and other worthy American patriots.

A table will be set up to recognize the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War.

On July 17 at noon, the VFW Color Guard will lead the Hastings Rivertown Days Grande Parade. The route will be north bound along Ramsey Street from 10th Street to Second Street, following Second Street to Eddy Street and ending at the intersection of Fourth and Eddy streets.

Michelle Wirth

Michelle Wirth graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in 2013 with a degree in journalism and web design. She worked as a web content editor for a trade association before coming to the Hastings Star Gazette in 2016.

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