For St. Peter residents like Army veteran Tuff Miller, attending the annual Memorial Day service at Minnesota Square Park is about both remembering those who died in service but especially those who have ties to the community.
“I think a lot of people have roots in this town and they know a lot of the people,” Miller said.
Miller is one of those residents; his great grandfather served in the Civil War.
He and his brothers have also followed in his grandfather’s footsteps, serving in either the Army, Air Force or Marines.
Miller attended the service, hosted by American Legion post 37, with fellow veteran Marwood Neilson.
Neilson said it’s important to reflect on those who have lost their lives, adding that he’s also had family in the military.
“We should honor all the people who have served ahead of us,” he said.
Hundreds of St. Peter residents gathered around the park’s pavilion Monday.
Monday’s service honored the 104 Honor Wall veterans recognized on the St. Peter Area Veterans Memorial located at the park.
The Honor Wall signifies those who lost their lives while serving.
The memorial also features a Service Wall for veterans still alive that currently lists 1,441 names.
The legion’s Color Guard and Honor Guard, St. Peter High School Band and the St. Peter Govenaires also participated in the service.
St. Peter resident and American Legion 37 member Dave Johnson helped plan the event.
During the ceremony, a bell was rung to signify the different eras of war veterans lost their lives in.
But the moment also included facts about how those points in history began, something Johnson said was important to include in order to remind people about why they started.
“I thought it was significant that we mentioned that as well as why we were in that war and what impact it had locally,” Johnson said. “I thought the importance of knowing why we were in war was something we probably all learned about in history. But how often have we forgotten as to what happened?”
Johnson, who was in the U.S. Army Reserves for eight years, said in planning, he wanted to remind people why Memorial Day is recognized.
“The thing I wanted people to leave with was the fact that we live the life we live because of what people before us have sacrificed,” he said.