Mike Wilson, the Red Wing mayor 'is in'

Mike Wilson writes a monthly column about Red Wing issues and in response to residents' questions.

Along with communities across the nation, on Monday, Red Wing honored the heroes who sacrificed their lives for our freedom. In case you missed it, let me share with you my remarks at our Memorial Day program. 

Let’s begin with a big welcome to an honored member of our Red Wing family, the past national commander of the American Legion, Dan Ludwig. Dan, would you please stand.

Dan was succeeded by our current national commander, Paul Dillard, whose theme for 2022 is “No Veteran Left Behind.” 

And to all of you, welcome to this Memorial Day observance – honoring and paying homage to nearly 3 million heroes who, over some 244 years, have sacrificed their lives in defense of our great nation and our liberty.

I’d be willing to bet there is hardly a single person here today who doesn’t have a friend or relative who did not make that ultimate sacrifice.

I think of my high school buddies who died in Vietnam – Lee Kinney, Mike Lally, Lee Hauschildt, Fred Hemphill and Ed Reitmann.

We think of the 77 men from Goodhue County who died across the seas in World War II.

The well over 100 Minnesotans who died in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars – and more than 700 who gave their lives in Korea.

The list of America’s fallen heroes goes on and on. 

Many of you have surely heard the story – following the Constitutional Convention of 1787 in Philadelphia – of Ben Franklin’s conversation with his friend, Mrs. Elizabeth Willing Powell.

“Well Dr. Franklin,” she asked, “what have you given us?”

To which Franklin replied: “A republic – if you can keep it.”

Truth is – Franklin was issuing a challenge to every future generation of Americans – to protect and defend our great republic against all comers.

Those American heroes we honor today met that challenge. And we salute them for it.

In a speech many years ago, the great Supreme Court justice Oliver Wendell Homes summed up Memorial Day this way:

“Grief is not the end of all. Our dead brothers still live for us, and bid us think of life, not death – a life to which in their youth they lent the passion and joy of spring. As I listen, the great chorus of life and joy begins again, and our trumpets sound once more a note of daring, hope, and will.”

Now what do you think?

(1) comment

Robert Crouse

Mayor Wilson is a wonderful representative of our community. I think he will go down as one of our great city leaders.

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