America's fallen remembered and honored on Memorial Day
By Ed DuBois
A former commander of the Army Reserve unit in Buffalo, Gen. Ken Penttila of Inver Grove Heights, was the guest speaker at the Memorial Day ceremony in Buffalo last Monday, May 29. His speech included some stark numbers in regard to those who lost their lives fighting for our freedom.
He said more than 1.2 million men and women have fallen in the service of their country during 86 of America's wars and armed conflicts.
"World War I was carnage unprecedented," he commented.
New weapons were devastating. Great Britain and France were bled dry of fighting-age men. An entire generation of young men died. Altogether, there were 40 million casualties (wounding, missing or killed on both sides), and that included 9 million military deaths. It was as if the populations of Wisconsin and Minnesota were erased from the face of the earth.
America suffered over 116,000 dead in just ten months of fighting.
"Little did anyone know that the carnage of this war would be eclipsed just 27 years later with the end of World War II," Gen. Penttila said.
In an attempt to honor our fallen soldiers, America established special cemeteries throughout the world. A special commission manages 26 military cemeteries, along with 27 major battle monuments. Gen. Penttila said the cemeteries and monuments are some of the most beautiful places to be found. The grounds are immaculately kept, and trees are even manicured into appropriate shapes.
"It would be well worth the time for anyone traveling overseas to visit as many as they can to see the magnificence of those sites. You cannot help come out feeling proud to be American," the general stated.
He mentioned that many cemeteries, particularly in France, Luxembourg and Belgium, have been adopted by local families, and they often greet American families when they visit to thank them for their sacrifice, and ask if they were caring properly for their soldier.
Concluding, Gen. Penttila said, "We are not here to celebrate war." He said we gather on Memorial Day to celebrate our fallen soldiers' lives and give thanks for their sacrifice.
He added that veterans do not ask for much. A simple thanks from a grateful nation is all they need.
"When you pass a cemetery with military markers, take time to read the names, note the conflicts and give thanks that their sacrifice has shaped our lives today," he suggested. "Thank you and may God bless America's fallen ... May God bless America."
Prior to the general's speech, American Legion Post 270 Commander Bob Larson spoke briefly about the American Legion and its purpose. He said the Legion "serves our veterans, our community and our nation."
Legion members are veterans who served during times of war. Larson added that the Legion Auxiliary is the largest patriotic women's organization.
The American Legion also includes the Sons of the America Legion and the American Legion Riders.
Money raised by the American Legion goes to veterans and to the community.
The Legion's Memorial Day ceremony included music provided by Buffalo High School band members. A roll call of deceased veterans was read by Les Dalman and Kevin Dorsey. "Taps" was played after a rifle salute.
Highway Department Open House June 9
Also see remodeled Public Works Building and sheriff's facilities
The Wright County Highway Department will host a public open house at the new Highway Department Building on Friday, June 9 from 9:00 a.m. to noon.
You can also see the remodeled Public Works Building that morning. The Parks Department plans to have a climbing wall set up. The Public Works Building includes the County Surveyor's Office and the Extension Service Office, as well.
The Sheriff's Office is also offering an open house on June 9 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
All three sites, the Highway Department Building, the Public Works Building and the Sheriff's Office campus, are all located along Braddock Ave., just off Highway 25 on the north side of Buffalo.
Tours are planned. Come and see vehicles and equipment on display, and staff members will be available to answer your questions.
Buffalo High School graduation June 9
PLC, ABE and PRIDE ceremonies also planned
The Class of 2017 is graduating at Buffalo High School on Friday, June 9, 7 p.m., in the BHS gymnasium.
Close to 440 seniors are participating in the ceremony (one of the largest classes to date).
Each student will have a limited number of tickets for family and friends to watch the ceremony in person. Others are invited to watch a live video broadcast in the air-conditioned BHS Performing Arts Center.
Several other graduations are planned in the Buffalo-Hanover-Montrose School District, including:
Phoenix Learning Center
The Phoenix Learning Center graduation ceremony is taking place on Thursday, June 8, 7 p.m., in the Buffalo High School Performing Arts Center.
Phoenix Learning Center (PLC) is an alternative to a traditional high school setting.
The public is encouraged and invited to attend both the event and a reception for the graduates. This year, 11 students will receive their diplomas.
The ABE (Adult Basic Education) ceremony is taking place Tuesday, June 6, 7 p.m., in the Discovery Center Auditorium.
The public is invited to attend the 2017 ceremony, where GEDs are being presented.
Adult Basic Education is available for any adult whose basic skills (math, reading, writing) are below a 12th grade level according to a Minnesota Department of Education-approved pretest.
GED (General Educational Development) is a diploma equivalent to earning a high school diploma.
Please come and help celebrate the recipients who have successfully completed their GED exam or have been nominated for an Achievement Award.
A reception will immediately follow the ceremony.
For more information, call Cheryl at 763-745-6034.
The PRIDE Transitions ceremony is taking place on Wednesday, June 7, 1 p.m., in the Lakeview Mall, downtown Buffalo.
In PRIDE Transitions' ninth year, five students will graduate from the program. Family and friends are invited to attend.
PRIDE is a program designed for 18 to 21-year-old students receiving additional services to make the transition from school to work and independent living.
Eden Prairie murder suspect arrested in Buffalo last week
A suspect in an Eden Prairie double-murder case was arrested in Buffalo last Thursday, May 25.
The Wright County Sheriff's Office had contact with the suspect, Nathan Lehman, 38, of Eden Prairie, around 8 a.m. on Thursday during a motorist aid stop on Dague Ave. between Delano and Buffalo. At that time, there was no information that Lehman was wanted in connection with the murders, according to Chief Deputy Todd Hoffman.
"Approximately two hours later, the Sheriff's Office received information that Lehman was wanted in connection with the murders. The Sheriff's Office sent out the earlier contact information to our deputies," Hoffman said.
It was believed Lehman was still in Wright County.
"Within 15-20 minutes of getting this information out, one of our deputies spotted the suspect car near Target in Buffalo. Wright County deputies, along with Minnesota State Troopers, stopped the car on Highway 55 and 10th St., where Lehman was taken into custody without incident," Hoffman reported.
Eden Prairie detectives responded to the traffic stop and then took custody of Lehman. He was later charged with second-degree murder in the deaths of his parents, Robert and Debra Lehman of Eden Prairie, according the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Nathan Lehman reportedly had a long history of domestic assault against his parents. He is accused of stabbing each of his parents more than 20 times with a screwdriver. He was reportedly high on methamphetamine when arrested and had been treated for mental illness in the past.
Highways 55 and 25 being reduced to single lane at times this month
Motorists who travel Highway 25 and Highway 55 near the Highways 25/55 intersection in Buffalo may encounter delays as each road is intermittently re-duced to a single lane in June, reports the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT).
The intermittent lane closures will occur from sunrise to sunset and will be complete by the end of June, weather permitting.
The closures are needed while crews install permanent striping and conduct other work to complete the Highway 25 reconstruction project in Buffalo. The project is one part of a multi-year, multi-project cooperative plan between the City of Buffalo and MnDOT to improve mobility, safety and infrastructure in Buffalo and Wright County.
Highway 25 south of downtown Buffalo, near Buffalo Lake, is scheduled for reconstruction in 2022. More information on that project, and other state highway projects in Wright County, will be announced as details become available.
To have project updates including advance notice of future traffic changes sent directly to your inbox, sign up for the project's email updates. To download the latest project maps and get more project details, visit www.mndot.gov/d3/buffalo. To receive information through Twitter about this and other state road projects in Buffalo and Wright County, follow MnDOT District 3 @MnDOTCentral.
Senator Klobuchar delivers a special flag on Memorial Day
A flag that had flown over the U.S. Capitol is given to Past American Legion Post 270 Commander Bonnie Hanson (left) by U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (right). The senator had attended ceremonies at Fort Snelling and Chanhassen and visited Litchfield after stopping in Buffalo. Another photo of Klobuchar with Legionnaires is inside this week's issue of the Journal-Press. (Photo by Ed DuBois)
Royal treatment for Gold Star Mother
Stella Huso of Buffalo just needed a ride, but instead, she was given a place of honor at a Veterans Memorial Dedication
By Ed DuBois
With no car to drive to an American Legion Veterans Memorial Dedi-cation in Big Lake, Stella Huso of Buffalo called Big Lake Legion Auxiliary President Kathy Poslus-ny to find out if a Legion member might be available to give her a ride. In response, she was not only given a ride, she was honored with a seat in a limousine and given an American Legion Riders motorcycle escort.
"I thought a veteran would just come and give me ride," she said afterward.
A Gold Star Mother, Stella Huso, 98, was instead "treated like royalty," she stated.
It was raining on Saturday, May 27, but nonetheless, Legion and Auxiliary officers from Big Lake and the American Legion Riders from Monticello arrived right on time outside the apartment building where Stella lives. She has been a Buffalo resident about three years after selling the home that she and her late husband, Ordin, had built for themselves in Hanover almost 50 years ago. She is close to her doctors now that she lives in Buffalo, her granddaughter explained.
Raised five children
Ordin and Stella were married in Mayville, N.D. They raised five children: Diane, Steven, Patricia, Wayde, and Rose Marie. Ordin was a top official with the Land O' Lakes food company before he passed away in 1997.
Stella became a Gold Star Mother in 1969 after Wayde was killed in action while serving in Vietnam. Blue Star Mothers are those whose son or daughter serve in the U.S. Armed Forces. The Blue Star is replaced with a Gold Star if a son or daughter is lost while serving their country.
Stella is the only Gold Star Mother in Big Lake American Legion Post 147. That helps explain her place of honor in the limousine and the royal treatment at the Veterans Memorial Dedication.
Stella recalled only one previous limousine ride, which was for her 80th birthday. She has been a member of the Big Lake American Legion Auxiliary for over 40 years, she estimated.
Given blankets to stay warm
Military Police greeted her when she arrived at the dedication on May 20. A military escort helped her to a special place in a tent, where she was given blankets to stay warm.
"There was applause when I was announced, and they gave me a corsage with yellow flowers," Stella said.
There were speeches and songs, and then she was given a special U.S. flag, plus a red Killed in Action flag in honor of her son, Wayde. Also among the items presented to her was a red, white and blue quilt with military symbols.
"I felt like a queen," Stella said. "I was treated like royalty. I didn't expect all that."
A friend and neighbor, Arlis Block, mentioned, "Now, they are planning a 100th birthday event."
Stella smiled at that and joked about making it that long. Her friends are confident she will. They say she looks great, and her mind is "sharp as a tack."
Stella gives credit for her longevity to her Scandinavian roots.
Quiet, nice fellow
Asked about Wayde, she said he was in the 1st Air Cavalry. He died at a helicopter base near the Cambodian border.
Wayde was a "quiet, nice fellow," Stella said.
"Little dogs would follow him around," she recalled.
In high school, Wayde seamed to be the "stabilizer" in his bunch of friends.
He graduated from Big Lake High School and was a St. Cloud State University student when he decided to enlist in the Army. An older brother was in the Air Force.
Stella recalled Wayde once said he would like to be a lawyer.
Armed Forces Day
Big Lake Legionnaires and Auxiliary members obviously have great respect for Wayde's service and Stella's loss. They gave her the royal treatment when all she had asked for was a ride with a veteran.
Instead, she was given a limousine ride, a motorcycle escort and a place of honor at the Veterans Memorial Dedication on Armed Forces Day.