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Community events honor our veterans

Community veterans were honored in a number of ways last week -- at a “Tribute to the Armed Forces” concert at School District 166, at special luncheons and at several ceremonies.

One of those events, on Veterans Day, was a very traditional ceremony hosted by the community of Grand Portage. The gathering began with drum song by the Stonebridge Singers.

As the drum song faded, it was followed by the traditional moment of silence on the 11th hour, then raising of the flags—the United States first, then the Canadian and then the flag of the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior.

And then, to the sound of the Stone Bridge Singers, the flags of all the branches of the military service were raised by veterans.

There were brief speeches. Missy Ullman shared a bit of history from an old newspaper clipping. Grand Portage Veterans Services Officer and member of Grand Portage Legion Post 2009 Clarence Everson made some brief remarks. Short excerpts both are included in this feature.

After the ceremony, all stayed at the scenic Grand Portage Legion post, enjoying the view of Lake Superior and good food prepared by the Legion 2009 Auxiliary. Many memories – of good times and bad -- were shared throughout the afternoon. 

More memories were shared later on Veteran’s Day, as members of the other American Legion Post in Cook County, American Legion Post 413 gathered at the veteran’s memorial on the Cook County courthouse lawn for a simple, but meaningful ceremony; one meant to preserve the memory of former Post Commander Don “Smasher” Wilson who passed away on July 23, 2017.

With members of the Post 413 Honor Guard standing by, Bob Mattson welcomed Commander Wilson’s family and community members.

Mattson said Commander Wilson was instrumental in getting the veteran’s memorial placed on the courthouse lawn. However, Mattson said Smasher did much more than spearhead the placement of the monument. He credited “Smasher” with almost single-handedly keeping Legion Post 413 going. And, Mattson said, it was Commander Wilson’s mission that every serviceman or woman have a proper military burial service.

A plaque recognizing the dedication of Commander Don “Smasher” Wilson was unveiled. Also added to the monument in Wilson’s honor was a pair of benches for rest and reflection at the monument. 

WTIP's Rhonda Silence shares the following report and photos (click for slideshow).