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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Enjoy a real Lutheran potluck dinner- complete with an amazing rhubarb custard pie and an exquisite tatertot hotdish.
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.
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.