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PHOTOS: Memorial Day ceremony held at Hastings Roadside Park

Mayor Paul Hicks greets the assembled crowd in the rain. Alec Hamilton / RiverTown Multimedia1 / 10
Pastor Paris Pasch leads the crowd in an opening prayer. Alec Hamilton / RiverTown Multimedia2 / 10
Over 300 people came prepared with chairs, umbrellas and rain suits to take in the Memorial Day ceremony at Hastings Roadside Park. Alec Hamilton / RiverTown Multimedia3 / 10
Rebecca Schill is sheltered from the rain as she reads her winning Voice of Democracy essay to the crowd. Alec Hamilton / RiverTown Multimedia4 / 10
Rev. John Echert, a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force, delivers the ceremony's keynote address and focuses on honoring those who have fallen by telling their stories. Alec Hamilton / RiverTown Multimedia5 / 10
Samuel Krehbiel reads his Patriot Pen essay about what America means to him. Alec Hamilton / RiverTown Multimedia6 / 10
The Honor Guard stands atop the hill overlooking the park. Alec Hamilton / RiverTown Multimedia7 / 10
Master of Ceremonies Richard Hullander starts the Memorial Day ceremony at Hastings Roadside Park. Alec Hamilton / RiverTown Multimedia8 / 10
A new wreath is placed in front of the memorial at Hastings Roadside Park. Alec Hamilton / RiverTown Multimedia9 / 10
Gordon Gathright sings the national anthem. Alec Hamilton / RiverTown Multimedia10 / 10

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.

Alec Hamilton

Alec Hamilton is a sports reporter and general assignment reporter at the Hastings Star Gazette. He is a journalism graduate of Drake University.

(651) 319-4502
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