"The United States and the freedom for which it stands, the freedom for which they died, must endure and prosper. Their lives remind us that freedom is not bought cheaply. It has a cost; it imposes a burden. And just as they whom we commemorate were willing to sacrifice, so too must we -- in a less final, less heroic way -- be willing to give of ourselves." – Ronald Reagan, Memorial Day address at Arlington National Cemetery, May 31, 1982.
Memorial Day is a time to honor, cherish and remember, and Minnesota offers visitors and residents a host of ways to commemorate fallen heroes and spend time with loved ones. If you've booked it out of town and are spending the day in cabin country, take a moment to let the Minnesota air fill your lungs, and don't forget to enjoy the day.
Fort Snelling's annual grand opening on Memorial Day offers visitors the opportunity to travel through the past with a living timeline of military life.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar was there to speak and participate in the presentation of wreaths.
"Memorial Day is about remembering loved ones -- people who made the ultimate sacrifice, but remembering them means honoring them," she said. "That means keeping our promises to the troops that are serving now."
The senator thanked those who have bravely served and spoke on the importance of taking care of our veterans after they leave the battlefield.
"When we send our soldiers to battle we make a promise to them, they make a promise to us that they are going to go and defend our country, and we need to keep our promises to them when they return," Klobuchar said.
Costumed staff and re-enactors interpreted different eras of military history between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., and visitors were also welcome to explore historic buildings and learn about life in early Minnesota. Cannon and musket firings, hearth cooking demonstrations and American Indian history presentations also took place.
STATE CAPITOL GROUNDS
There are several Minnesota war memorials on the Capitol grounds in St. Paul, including the Minnesota Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the Minnesota Korean Veterans Memorial, the Peace Officers Memorial and the World War II Memorial.
Veterans organizations plan to gather on the Capitol grounds on Monday.
Lakewood Cemetery in south Minneapolis holds a free event to honor veterans and loved ones starting with a service at 10:30 a.m. The ceremony will be followed by walking tours of the cemetery, horse and carriage tours, a rifle salute by Civil War re-enactors, art activities, historical presentations and music from 12 to 3 p.m.
Hennepin Ave. S. & 36th St.
MINNESOTA AIR NATIONAL GUARD MUSEUM
Fort Snelling also holds the Minnesota Air National Guard Museum, which preserves vintage aircraft, engines and flight simulators. The museum is open to those with military ID, Tuesday through Saturday. For the general public, the museum is open on June 8 for visitors to tour the aircraft and exhibits.
MINNESOTA STATE VETERANS CEMETERY
In Little Falls, near Lake Mille Lacs, the Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery will have the annual memorial service on Sunday, May 26th at 1:30 p.m..
ST. LOUIS PARK MEMORIAL DAY SERVICE
The Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion honor those who have served in a Memorial Day Service at the Veterans' Memorial Amphitheater in Wolfe Park, St. Louis Park. The service began at 11 a.m., and the flag was raised at noon.
EDEN PRAIRIE MEMORIAL DAY HONOR
Eden Prairie remembers those who served at their annual Memorial Day Ceremony at the Veteran's Memorial in Purgatory Creek Park. The ceremony began at 11 a.m., and it was free and open to all.
The Landing, a historic site on the Minnesota River in Shakopee, has had a weekend of Civil War events. A Memorial Day ceremony was held at 2 p.m.