Veterans Memorial Dedication

Veterans Memorial Invitation front & backThe Bergman-Evenson Post #215 of the Rutland American Legion and the Rutland American Legion Auxiliary will host the dedication of the Veterans Memorial on  Flag Day, Sunday, June 14, 2015, starting at 2:00 p.m.  Several speakers and music will be at the event.  Come and help commemorate our service men and women from the Rutland area.

Click on the invitation for further information.  Pictures of the Rutland Veterans Memorial can be seen at lower right of the page.  Click on the photos to view them.

To Our Veterans

At 11:11 a.m., Nov. 11, 1918, the guns fell silent on the “Western Front,” and World War I, the war that had been called “The Great War” and “The War to End All Wars,” was over. More than 2 million American soldiers served in France during the fierce fighting that broke the German Army’s will to continue the war. This year, at 11:11 a.m. on the 11th day of the 11th month of the 11th year of the 21st century, for the first time since 1918, there will be no American Veteran of the vast American Army that won the war in France to observe the anniversary of the end of that conflict. The last American veteran of World War I died this year, joining ranks with the millions of his comrades who exist only in memory and history.

That generation had served their country in peace as well as in war. They were builders as well as warriors. Among the structures for which they laid the foundations and commenced construction were the Veterans Administration and the veterans’ health care system, intended to fulfill the nation’s promises to those who had answered the call of duty and borne the burdens of battle. The foundations laid by the veterans of World War I were expanded and strengthened a generation later, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt proposed, and Congress adopted, the GI Bill of Rights of 1944, providing health care and disability benefits for returning veterans of World War II and, as important, educational benefits that gave America a generation of skilled workers, teachers, administrators and executives who led this nation to a half century of unprecedented progress and prosperity.

Veterans Day, we should remember, is not a day to honor America’s dead, but a day to honor the living. It is a day set aside to honor those who have dedicated a portion of their lives to service in our nation’s military, and have gone on to continue their service to community, state and nation as productive citizens.

Today, more than 20 million of our fellow Americans are military veterans. Two million of those are veterans of the current military missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. The foundations laid, and the institutions built, by them and their predecessors continue to deliver on America’s promises to those who go in harm’s way for their country. Three years ago, the Congress adopted the GI Bill of Rights, the most comprehensive package of rights and benefits for America’s military veterans since the original GI Bill of Rights of 1944, containing educational incentives as well as medical, disability and rehabilitation benefits for veterans.

There are those in Congress today who would renege on America’s commitment to veterans.

As Americans, our commitment to this nation’s veterans must be as unquestionable, as unshakable, as unswerving as their courage in battle. We must continue to build on the foundations laid by those who forced the guns to fall silent on Nov. 11, 1918, so that we might hear the blessed song of peace. So, on this Veterans Day, Nov. 11, 2011, let us commit ourselves to continue the work they have begun, to build a nation that honors the sacrifice and service of those who have worn the uniform of our military services. To America’s veterans on this Veterans Day I say, “Thank you for your service, and welcome home!” Together, we will continue to build a better, stronger America.

Pam Gulleson

Memorial Day Program

Those of us who are still breathing cannot repay the sacrifice made by those who fought for our freedom and who died in service to our country, but at the very least we must and can remember them. That’s exactly what Rutland did as part of its annual Memorial Day event. This year, the American Legion Bergman Evenson Post 215 held events at both the Nordland Lutheran Church cemetary and the Rutland Cemetary. Following visits to the cemetaries, more than 200 residents and visitors proceeded to City Hall for a short program. American Legion Members received member service awards:  Donald Donaldson and Milton McLaen received their 65 year awards, Norm Preble and Roger Nelson received 45 year member awards, and Andy Hoflen received the forty year member service award. Women’s Auxiliary President Sonja Christensen gave a thought-provoking speech. Musical entertainment included patriotic songs sung by local talent accompanied by Kathleen Brakke. Following the program a wonderful meal of scalloped potatoes and ham and a variety of salads and desserts was served.

Photos from the day’s activities have been posted on the Rutland, ND Facebook page.

Flags Retired With Honor

The Bergman/Evenson Post 215 held the Flag Retirement Ceremony on Veteran’s Day afternoon behind the Legion Hall in Rutland.  Approximately 50 faded, tattered flags that have flown over the graves of veterans, or flown by homeowners or businesses were retired with dignity and honor.  A prayer was given by Post Chaplain Milton McLaen, and Post Commander Larry Christensen presided over the retirement ceremony as each flag was placed on a fire in accordance with proper flag disposal.  I was moved as I watched each flag being consumed by the flames, and as I remembered all the men and women who have so courageously served under our nation’s flag.

After the ceremony, the veterans were served a soup and sandwich supper by the Legion Auxiliary.  The Nordland Lutheran Church parish hall was festively decorated with lace-draped tables, flags and thank you cards for our veterans and their guests.  Six kinds of soup, three kinds of sandwiches and a variety of bars ensured that no one left hungry.  Sonja Christensen, Auxiliary President, gave a reading on the birth of the Pledge of Allegiance in 1892 and the changes that have been made to it through the years.  I don’t know that I had ever given much thought as to how the Pledge of Allegiance came to be.  Sonja did a good job of enlightening us all.

Earlier Tuesday morning my husband had participated in a county-wide Veterans Day Program in Forman with two other members of the Rutland Post.  The Auxiliary in Forman served them a nice lunch of hot chile.

That evening, my husband and I agreed that it had been a good day.  We had spent Veteran’s Day remembering veterans and what they have sacrificed for our country.  That’s what the day is all about. [Carolyn Christensen]

Rutland Remembers Its Veterans

By Carolyn Christensen

Memorial Day was cold and blustery, but that didn’t prevent the Bergman-Evenson Post 215 and it Legion Auxiliary from marching at the Nordland Lutheran Cemetery and the Rutland Cemetery to honor our veterans and auxiliary members laid at rest there.  Everyone was shivering and teeth were chattering and it was miserable being out in such weather, but it was only for about 15 minutes in each cemetery.  I couldn’t help but think of the conditions our veterans endured and still endure.  Whether it’s freezing cold, horrendous heat, lack of food or sleeping fitfully in a foxhole, in a tree or the hard ground, the veterans have and continue to do whatever it is that needs to be done to help keep our country free.  So, a total half hour of discomfort is the least we can do to honor them.

The Memorial Day program at the town hall was very moving.  One of our World War II veterans, Milton McLaen, went on the WDAY Honor Flight and he and his daughter, Karen Hornseth, gave a power point presentation on his trip.  I can only imagine what it was like for him to be among so many men and women who had gone through similar situations as he did and to be able to see the memorial that was finally erected for them.

The Legion presented several service pins.  Earl (Bill) Anderson, Larry Christensen, Andy Hoflen, Calvin Jacobson, Ted Lee, and Roger Nelson received 35 year pins.  Forty year pins went to John Hoflen, Roger Pearson and Norman Preble.  Clayton McLaen received a 55 year pin and Donald Donaldson and Milton McLaen received 60 year pins.  Three members of the Legion Auxiliary received pins as well.  Bonnie Anderson received a 25 year pin while Helen Sapa and Gwen Young received 60 year pins.

As usual the Community Club served a delicious dinner following the program.  Many former residents come back to Rutland for Memorial Day and this is a wonderful time of visiting and reminiscing.