Not Lost, but Gone Before (ikke tabt, men gaaet forud) -- Memorial Day 2013


Today my family paused to remember those who came before us and those who served. Maybe you did too. If so, please add a comment and share where and how you remembered.

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Parade starts in front of the Clinton Memorial Building at 9:15am

Being part of a small town requires us to be a part of the activities- Alma in the band and the boys riding bike in the parade (the latter was voluntary). Also being part of an immigrant farming community brought us to our ancestor's church- open one day per year--to remember.

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Parade ends at the elementary school. This woman stands and watches the parade each year- each year it moves me

It's a healthy exercise to be grateful for others' sacrifices and to remember our own mortality as we spend time in ceremony and cemeteries on this Memorial Day. That's what took place today in Big Stone County, Minnesota and many other places.

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I liked the patriotic seed cap

It's a somber day and feeling. Not lightened by the cool, gray weather, the decaying buildings, the people remembered in death this year who were with us in life last year.

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Heads bowed as the name of each deceased service man and woman from our community is read aloud and followed by a drum roll.

2nd Lt. Jacob Lillehaug talked to us about remembering the people- the individuals who serve and served their country. A good boy from our small town, invited home. Asked to be wise as age 22, maybe 23. And we are grateful, grateful for him going out into the world- with our blessings and on our behalf. And remembering those from the Baatan Death March- for touching them, few that remain, as they touch him. Godspeed Lt. Lillehaug.

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A deserted and lovely Main Street- as we leave early for the next service we will attend

From Clinton, we head to rural Long Lake Church. This is the church of my mother-in-law's family. A church of immigrants- largely Norwegian and Danish.

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Long Lake Lutheran Church- established 1872 and built in 1890

They hold one church service and potluck dinner here each year- on Memorial Day. My mother-in-law plays the pump pedal organ that still sounds lovely after all these years and dozens upon dozen unheated winters.

We sing from the 1913 copyright, 1927 published Lutheran Hynmary.
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Enjoy a real Lutheran potluck dinner- complete with an amazing rhubarb custard pie and an exquisite tatertot hotdish.

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Lutheran church potluck dinner

And then we walk through the cemetery and remember the family members buried there. For us, it is Mike's grandpa and grandma. The Brustuens.

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On the last Brustuen grave we visited were the words "Ikke tabt, men gaaet forud." None of us knew what that meant. Thanks to Google translator we know it means

"Not Lost, but Gone Before."

Some things are lost. Those first generation immigrants tongue and their language is, in fact, lost to us. Their legacy continues on. It is a good, wholesome, respectful legacy of family, community and farming. It comes from and leads to honorable service. Humbling and honorable service. I suspect my husband left with the hope and maybe a promise to come back and help fix the shingles on the roof of that old church.

Thanks you to those who brought us to this place and for those, known and unknown, who have defended our freedoms these many years so that rural Minnesota can be a peaceful place.


What a nice account of your day Kathy!

Thank you, Kathy for the nice photos and message - Our Memorial Day programs have always been so moving - Thanks to our American Legion Post and Auxiliary - and of course, all the folks to attend! We're proud of Clinton!

My mother grew up in Clinton and my father's family farmed near there. I have many fond memories of visits to my grandparents home there and to my uncle and his family. My mother informed me this week that this was the first time in 62 years that my Uncle Sev did not carry the flag in the Memorial Day parade. I was humbled by that commitment to a community and his country. My father, now deceased, and Sev entered the service like many young men did, as they graduated from Clinton High School, leaving to enter military service during World War II. And when Sev returned to life in Clinton, he marched all those years, every Memorial Day for over 50 years. I honor him and every other man or woman who served or is serving now. Our country continues to be indebted to the individuals and their families who sacrifice every day so we can continue to live our lives in a better place. Thank you all!

I'm almost to a point of "Do I even say anything about My serving"? After all I never had any rounds flying over my head, except for basic training. When veterans are asked to stand it always bothers me because of this. For the most part, my time was more like a long, long stay away from home. Yes, I served, and I'm proud to say that I did. As one very respected relative of mine said; You won't take a million bucks for what you'll wind up doing, but you wouldn't give 2 cents to go back and do it again.

I found out you can run, almost without stopping, with the proper training. You can miss Christmas,Thanksgiving,Birthdays,& Funerals, and after a while you start to forget what people sounded like when they talked.

I rode troop ships over the Atlantic twice. One in December in the worst ocean I could ever believe. I still can't believe the size of the waves. The old Baker, (I worked in the ship bakery on the trip over)said Ya, it's pretty bad out there, We've got water coming over the front and back of the ship all the time. My view was a porthole in the bakery. We worked at night and slept during the days. The ocean looks angry at night. Nearly every one on the ship was seasick.

I got to see a lot of foreign country's during the two years, and I'm thankful for that.

Janine and Lois- thank you for the comments on my reflections of memorial day. Your family is a big part of our community that keeps these celebrations meaningful. Denese taking pics, Jimmy the Commander leading the service, Dave one of the members of Legion. Thank you all!!

Diane-- thank you for sharing your memories of Clinton. And yes, Sev, was missed in this years parade. As lovely and strong as this community is, there are gaps and losses of some of the foundations.... Hope that your path in life brings you back to this lovely, peaceful place on earth.

ES. I had not heard ANY stories of your service. What a wild ride for a boy from the flat earth in the middle of the continent!! I'm really glad you chose to share those here. And I will say 'thank you.' You served your country- and that service is valuable wherever you are at.


As you may know - my brother Jesse died in Iraq (2-21-05). I appreciate your pictures and reflection on Memorial Day. The speaker in Appleton mentioned in his speech how there were over 500 local veterans we were remembering that day and if each one had one family member there to represent him-we wouldn't have had enough seating. I love taking my children to these celebrations and teaching them what an important tradition these program and parades are. Keep up the good work!

Great post Kathryn, it's why i keep coming back. Look forward to more of your posts.

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This page contains a single entry by Kathryn Draeger published on May 27, 2013 4:18 PM.

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