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A day to honor the fallen

Pelican Rapids, Minn. Sarah Stoen's son was killed in Vietnam in 1971. "You never get over it. There are always days you cry.

Memorial day

Pelican Rapids, Minn.

Sarah Stoen's son was killed in Vietnam in 1971. "You never get over it. There are always days you cry. But as time passes you don't cry as much," said the 93-year-old Stoen, a Pelican Rapids resident.

On Monday she was among about 250 people who gathered in Pelican Rapids to honor Marcus Stoen and all the other soldiers who gave their lives for America.

Pelican Rapids, a town of about 2,400 situated 45 miles southeast of Fargo-Moorhead, traditionally tries to do right by Memorial Day.

"This community has a long history of taking the day seriously," said Mayor Wayne Runningen.

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Monday's activities included a program at Pelican Rapids High School, a parade and another program in a nearby park.

Myron Broschart, a retired Fergus Falls resident, military historian and World War II veteran, spoke at the program in the high school.

The city's Memorial Day activities and turnout surpass those of much larger communities, he said.

Otter Tail County residents have a proud history of military service that dates to the Spanish-American War, Broschart said.

Though war is terrible and evil, "The alternative is slavery and subjugation. We have to be prepared to fight," he said.

Broschart, a Cathay, N.D., resident, was wounded during fighting in Germany.

His parents were notified several weeks later by telegram. Such telegrams often carried the news that a family member in military service had been killed.

Broschart speculated Monday on how his parents felt as they prepared to open their telegram.

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Friends and family members of veterans also should be remembered on Memorial Day, he said.

He quoted the English poet John Milton: "They also serve who only stand and wait."

Monte Nicholls, who served in the U.S. Army in the 1970s, attended Monday's activities dressed in his old uniform.

He lived in Pelican Rapids for many years before moving to Detroit Lakes.

"I haven't missed one of these since 1989," he said of the Pelican Rapids' Memorial Day activities.

"This is a town where patriotism is very important," he said.

Stoen skipped the city's Memorial Day activities the year after her son died.

"It was too hard to come that first year," she said.

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Since then she's faithfully attended the annual activities.

"To see this every year is just wonderful," she said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Jonathan Knutson at (701) 241-5530

Memorial day

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