In Appreciation

Thank you from

Family of Lt. Robert

F. Niemann

The family of Lt. Robert F. Niemann wish to express their deepest appreciation to the organizations and individuals who made the memorial tribute to my brother, Bob, last Saturday possible. Special thank yous go to Bob’s daughter Ann Bakkensen for initiating this event and to Brown County Veterans Service Officer Greg Peterson who implemented Ann’s dream. Greg is a very knowledgeable and compassionate man who did an amazing job and he was everywhere from his leadership at the cemetery to making root beer floats at the family lunch, and even sweeping the floor there afterwards.

The list of organizations and individuals who made this memorable day possible include: The USAF Honor Guard from Grand Forks AFB, USAF Mortuary Affairs, The USAF Natl Guard group from Duluth, MN, Senator Klobuchar and Congressman Walz, Military Order of the Purple Heart Chapter 507, DAV Chapter 15, Brown County Board of Commissioners, National Honor Society MVL Chapter, VFW Post 1648, Korean War Veterans Service, New Ulm Police Dept., New Ulm Area Color Guard, American Legion Post 132, New Ulm City Cemetery, American Legion Riders, Gutes Essen Catering, Mark & Jane Schmid, Brown-Wilbert Inc., George Glotzbach, Mayor Beussman, MLC Print Shop, The Journal, KNUJ Radio, NUCAT, Thrivent, August Schell Brewing Co., Brown County Historical Society’s Kathleen Backer and Darla Gebhard, and Cindy Niemann who helped Ann in many ways.

What this tribute meant to the family is summed up so very well by our autistic grandson, Matteo Musso, who traveled from California to be with us. Matteo is 14 years old and is nonverbal but communicates by pointing out his message using a letterboard – one letter at a time. On the plane on the way home he wrote this note to Ann, Bob, myself and his Aunt Carol Reinhart. He said it all.

Thank you all, and the people of my hometown for this emotional and beautiful tribute to Bob.

Richard Niemann


Dear Uncle Robert, Ann, Bob, Papa and Auntie Carol,

How do I describe with words how yesterday affected me? You see, once again words are over-rated. Sometimes life experiences must be felt with the heart rather than captured in verbal prisons, but I know you all realize this regarding Robert’s honoring. I will give it a try with words, nonetheless.

I saw … the parade of cars, the billowing flags, the military salutes, the symbolic aircraft, the simply majestic gravesite and the tears of loss and gratitude.

I heard … the words of thanks, the memories of a life too short, the tribute of the rifles, the thunderous roar of the mighty jets, the deep breaths of awe taken by those who loved Robert and the solemn respect of those who came without even having a personal connection to him.

I felt … the loving hearts, the healing souls, the grateful tears, the emotional release of pent up sorrow, the healing of years of encapsulated wounds, the still inquisitive yet cautious acceptance, of the disappearance of a man who gave his life for our freedom and the safe return of his comrades.

Thanks to all of you who continuously speak of Robert, so that generations to come will remember to keep the values for which he fought, alive in their hearts and actions.

For me, I will continue my conversations with Robert, heart to heart, as I know you all do each time a memory crosses your mind, an image pops in your head or a story is heard or told. For each time we do this and let these things flow in our hearts, we honor Robert with the highest tribute he could ask for.

More than salutes, gunshots or jets, is the honor of being remembered for the type of human you were and the essence of goodness your legacy continues to teach those who you left behind on this earth.

The details of your life’s end, Robert, may never be truly revealed to us during our human existence, but the essence of your heart and soul are quite clear. Maybe that’s supposed to be enough at this time. Maybe we’re supposed to trust that God was always with him and comforting him as he succeeded in his Mission here on Earth. Generations of this family will never stop being open to discovering new information about you … and we will live with grateful and prideful hearts.

I love our family. To all of you, I’d give a special award … the Medal of Love.

Happily and Respectfully yours,


State Street Theater Thanks Mankato


The State Street Theater extends sincere appreciation to the Mankato Ballet who performed a benefit production of the enchanting Tschaikowsy ballet, Swan Lake, at the theater this past Sunday afternoon, May 6. The proceeds went to benefit the Theater’s efforts in carrying out its mission. The cast consisted of 24 of its Performing Company members, joined by additional cast members selected from the studio. Among audience members were many grandmother-mother- daughter trios. Enjoying a visit with “Odette,” Maile Hashimoto, is Claire Dunlavy, age 4, who enjoyed the program with her mother, Rachel Braegelmann Dunlavy, and grandmother, Becky Braegelmann.

And a thank you to the numerous volunteers, both parents and others from Mankato, and the core New Ulm volunteers, especially Tom Kaehler and Darrell Brey who helped with stage set-up, lighting, and sound from mid-morning through rehearsals to the conclusion of the event. Others helped with serving treats, selling and taking tickets, answering questions, and clean-up. Gutes Essen was a big help in providing cookies, punch and coffee.