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Memorial Day Weekend

By Staff | May 27, 2008

Dan Voigt photo

Memorial Day is a time of remembrance and a time to honor the men and women who have served, and are currently serving, in the United States military. Because of their service, America continues to live in a land of the free.

Memorial Day is also the first holiday of summer. Wild Rose Casino & Resort hosted several activities, including a free concert, the third annual Wild Rose Hot Air Balloon Invitational, and, with Barnes PRCA Livestock, Championship Bull Riding and Women’s Professional Barrel Racing.

Memorial Day Service

Annual Memorial Day service was held in Emmetsburg along the shores of Five Island Lake and at Evergreen Cemetery. Pictured above (from the left) are Rev. David Morris, United Methodist Church; guest speaker Brigadier General Douglas M. Pierce,Deputy Adjutant General, Iowa Air National Guard; Dennis Goeders, who read John A. Logan’s Order of the Day for the first Memorial Day in 1868; State Representative Marcie Frevert; Iowa Senator Jack Kibbie; Beth Hersom, who recited Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address; and Ron Hersom, Commander of VFW Post #2295.

General Pierce is a Command Pilot with more than 5,800 flight hours. He has flown the T-37, the T-38, F-100, A-7 and F-16C.

Dan Voigt photo

In his address to the crowd at Evergreen Cemetery, Gen.Pierce praised the Iowa Legislature for their support of the military. And, he thanked God he was born in America. “We have the greatest nation on the face of this earth.”

Air National Guard units are currently serving in Kurdistan, Afghanistan and in Balad, Iraq. Gen. Pierce flew several missions with his son, who is also a pilot in the Air National Guard.

“It’s unusual to have a father and son team,” he said. He and his son flew missions together for ten months.

Since Memorial Day one year ago, ten Iowans have given their lives in the name of freedom. Gen. Pierce remembered each of those people.

“Why do you do what you do?” is a question the general’s grandchildren asked of their father when he left for Iraq. From Iraq, he responded with a list, including: for family, for friends, for freedom and for independence and the red, white and blue. He listed national treasures, and the love of Jesus. For all those who have fought for freedom. And “because I love you.”

jane Whitmore photo

Wild Rose Activities

The weather did not cooperate with the Hot Air Balloon Invitational. Eleven balloonists were at the Wild Rose for the third annual event. Five balloonists participated in a night glow one evening. (see photo on front)

Championship Bull Riding and Women’s Professional Barrel Racing was held Sunday afternoon. Not many were able to keep their seats on the big bulls. (see photo on front)