Janssen, Bertrang speak at Memorial Day ceremony
NEW ULM– The 2023 Memorial Day parade and ceremony were held at City Cemetery on Monday.
The parade consisted of the color guard walking with the nation’s colors and New Ulm Battery pulling wagons on horseback.
The ceremony began with Mitchell Schotzko delivering the Gettysburg Address. Nathaniel Janssen then gave the Memorial Address.
In the beginning of his speech Janssen identified what makes the men and women in military service heroes.
“They are heroes, but how did they become heroes? If you were to look at these brave men and women before their service, in most cases, you would think they were just ordinary people.” Janssen said. “However, these ordinary people did extraordinary things. This is exactly what makes them heroes.”
As an example, Janssen shared a memory from when his family learned about their historic great-grandmother and her reaction.
“She was the very first woman in the state of Minnesota to be sworn into the Women’s Army Corps. Of course, we were amazed to learn this. My great grandma was a history maker in our state.” Janssen said.
“Upon learning this, my mom talked to her about it. She said grandma, this is incredible. This is an extraordinary piece of history. Don’t you want to be recognized for it? And my great grown grandmother responded assertively and said, ‘No. It was no big deal. It was my duty, my responsibility to do whatever I could to serve our country.'”
Janssen ended his speech by urging attendees to pause and remember what Memorial Day is for.
“Memorial Day is not just a day off of work, a day off from school, or the day you and your friends grill out.” Janssen said. “Memorial Day is the day that we remember and honor the true heroes of our nation that paid the ultimate price for each and every one of us. Their courage, strength, determination, and humility make them the real heroes.”
Retired Minnesota National Guard Brig. General Jeff Bertrang was the keynote speaker. He touched on grief and pain felt by families of soldiers who never came home.
“I’d like to take a moment and acknowledge anyone who has lost a loved one in the line of duty to this country.” Bertrang said. “It doesn’t matter how much time has passed. No word of condolence can even begin to adequately console the survivors grief. While grief from loss may change over time, it never leaves us.”
To honor those who served and lost their lives for America, Bertrang ended his speech by reciting the poem “Remember Me”.
“Remember me as your son. When you used to doctor my bumps. Remember me playing in the dirt. Remember me crying when I would get hurt. Remember walking to get my diploma. Remember me arguing and saying I’m gonna. Remember me as a man doing my job. Remember me, and please don’t stop. I did what I had to do, no matter what. I was heavily trained and I fought. No regrets as I’m in a wonderful place. Remember me when you look at that purple heart in your glass case.”
The ceremony featured performances by the Concord Singers and New Ulm Municipal Band. The ceremony concluded with a 21 gun salute and the New Ulm Battery firing off three cannon rounds.