Les Patterson’s Monday Morning Boost: Choosing to remember

Every Memorial Day, Sgt. Dan Gyllenskog “personally made sure there was an American flag on every veteran’s grave in the Smithfield Cemetery.” As I wrote last week, Sgt. Dan, a Vietnam veteran, is no longer around to carry out the sacred duty he so loved. Instead it was the honor of his brothers of American Legion Post 58 to place a flag on his grave, still decorated with bouquets of week-old wilted flowers.

Our family chose to remember Memorial Day, and remember Sgt. Dan, by helping the American Legion place flags. We worked side-by-side Saturday morning looking for the graves of veterans on a rough handwritten map. I was able to capture a few photographs of our experience Saturday morning. I hope you enjoy.

Photo #1
Frank Niellson (left), Adjutant, and Richard Swenson, 1st Vice Commander of the American Legion Post 58, raise the flag prior to lowering it to half-mast Saturday morning at the Smithfield Cemetery.

Photo #2
Most veterans we saw died sometime after their military service end. Rebecca placed a flag on the grave of World War II veteran Parley Davis Merrill who was killed in action in France on August 11, 1944.

Photo #3
Richard Swenson (right), 1st Vice Commander of the American Legion Post 58, observes the monument honoring Smithfield “boys” killed in action during World War I.

Photo #4
Toy soldiers, a US Flag, and personal mementos decorate the grave of Samuel Johnson. Sammy, who was a close friend of our son Clint and they joined the Marines together, died in 2011 while part of the Marine Corps.

Photo #5
Frank Niellson, Adjutant of the American Legion Post 58, thanks members and friends of the American Legion who helped place flags.

The American Legion will be retrieving flags Monday evening at 1700 hours (5pm). My family and I will be there helping out. I invite you to join us.

Have a great Monday!

Les Patterson

p.s. Take 15 minutes today and choose to remember those who served our country.

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