The Rice County Central Veterans Association organizes Memorial Day events in Faribault each year and made it very clear they were not going to throw out observances in the "City of Flying Flags."

The Association is comprised of 8 veterans organizations and the Rice County Veterans Services Office.  In Faribault traditionally there has been a brief ceremony at the Veterans Memorial at the Rice County Courthouse.  Next a parade went through the downtown ending at Central Park.  About 10 to 15 minutes after the parade a program is conducted at the Central Park Band Shell.

This year there will be no courthouse even and no parade.  A program will begin 10:00 a.m. in Central Park and be broadcast live on KDHL 920 AM as well as a live feed on the KDHL Facebook page.

In order to keep everybody safe people are requested to stay in their vehicles if they come to Central Park.  The hope is people will obey the request so other events can be held safely in the community in the future.

For a number of years the Faribault observances have included the honoring of local veterans.

This year the Grand Marshal is Debra Petersen

2020 Faribault Memorial Day Grand Marshal Deb Peterson. Photo provided by Central Veterans Association
2020 Faribault Memorial Day Grand Marshal Deb Peterson. Photo provided by Central Veterans Association

Petersen enlisted on July 23, 1976 after graduating from high school in 3 years.  She attended her basic training and advanced military training as Military Police at Fort McClellan, Al.  Petersen was in the last class of the Women Army Corps (WACS).  She retired February 9, 2019.

Petersen served at Fort Eustis, Va; Canal Zone, Panama; Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, D.C.; Camp Casey, Korea, Ft. Lee, Va. before transferring to the Army Reserve.

While serving in the Army Reserve, Petersen was part of a special group called the Individual Mobilization Augmentation (IMA) Program.  One of her duties with the group was to attend the Army criminal investigation school.

Petersen was mobilized in support of Operation Desert Shield serving at Fort McCoy, Wi. and Fort Riley, Ks.  Prior to de-mobilizing at Fort Riley she was recruited by the Army Reserve to teach at the WOCS at Fort McCoy as a Training Advising Counseling (TAC) officer and instructor.

Petersen was mobilized 3 times in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.  Each time assigned to a base in Georgia.  During her 43 and a half years of military service she has served at 26 different military locations in the United States and at overseas bases twice.

The local DAV Chapter 20 members voted her in as their Commander, the first female commander the chapter has ever had.

Petersen is a DAV and American Legion life member, who presently is part of the local American Legion Executive Board. She is part of the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) instructors and part of the local CERT leadership team.

The Honorary Grand Marshal is James Kurtzweil.

Memorial Day Faribault Honorary Grand Marshal James Kurtzweil. Photo provided by Central Veterans Association
Memorial Day Faribault Honorary Grand Marshal James Kurtzweil. Photo provided by Central Veterans Association

Kurtzweil enlisted in the Army on July 23, 1969 and retired November 1, 2005.  He had his initial military training at Fort Bliss, Tx and was sent to "B" Battery, 3rd Battalion, 61st Artillery in Germany.

After his initial active duty commitment he transferred to the Army Reserve where he served as a Senior Welder; Equipment Operator; Motor Sergeant; Engineer Equipment Maintenance Supervisor; Maintenance Platoon Sergeant and Maintenance Section Leader.  These positions were held while assigned to the Engineer Battalion in Pewaukee, Wi.  In the late 1980's Kurtzweil went back on active duty in an active guard reserve position, which he served until his retirement.

Kurtzweil served as an Engineer Equipment Repair Technician with the 478th Engineer Battalion, Fort Thomas, Ky; a Training Advising Counseling (TAC) officer and instructor at Ft. McCoy, Wi. and several other such assigments.

He served in support of Operation Desert Shield at Fort McCoy, Wi.  and Operation Iraqi Freedom at Camp Anaconda, Iraq.

Kurtzweil began his military career as a Private and progressed up the ranks to Sergeant First Class before receiving direct appointment to Chief Warrant Officer 2.

Kurtzweil served his country a total of 36 plus years in the active and reserve components.  He is a life member with the local Disabled American Veteran (DAV) Chapter 20 and American Legion Post 43.

Since retiring he spends his time building street rods and helping other Veterans when called upon.

The Honored Combat Veteran was the Grand Marshal last year, Jim Nielson.

Faribault Memorial Day Grand Marshal Jim Nielsen. Photo provided by Nielsen family
Faribault Memorial Day Grand Marshal Jim Nielsen. Photo provided by Nielsen family

Nielson was born in Tyler, Mn.   He shared last year on AM Minnesota after graduating from college he got what he expected in the mail.  His draft card and entered the U.S. Army March 9, 1969.

Neilson had basic training at Fort Campbell, Kentucky and had advanced infantry training at Fort Polk, La. before a six month training at engineering school in Virginia.  After that he went to Maryland for Army Intelligence School.  He wasn't finished training yet.  It was off to Fort Bragg in North Carolina for Chemical Welfare School for another six months.

Nielson went to Vietnam with the 525th Military Intelligence Group.  After his discharge in October of 1971 he returned home.  Jim and Ellen raised their children in Faribault and he is still active in the Faribault American Legion Post 43.  He was Commander in 1996.  A member of the Color Guard, Honor Guard, Executive Board and is on the Contributions Committee.

Last year he shared with us when returning home from Vietnam his Commanding Officer ordered him not to wear his uniform because of incidents in airports at the time.

All the honored Veterans will be asked if they want to deliver a message Monday in Central Park.

The American Legion Auxiliary Unit 43 will do the traditional Dedication of the Memorial Cross with wreaths representing all wars.

Central Veterans Association Commander John McDonough will read the names of the 116 Rice County Veterans who have passed away in the last year.

  • In Shieldsville from Noon to 3:00 p.m. traditional commemorative music will be played at the All American Veterans Memorial.
  • In Kenyon organizers will have no formal program but a processional is planned beginning at the KWHS and ending at the Veterans Memorial.  Details will be revealed on the KDHL Kenyon-Wanamingo area news about 8:25 Friday morning.  The Kenyon Veterans Color Guard will place flags on the graves of local Veterans.
  • In Wanamingo  9:00 a.m. There will be a short program consisting of placing roses on the POW/MIA Memorial followed by a rifle salute, taps and lowering and raising the colors to full staff.  9:30 a.m. There will be another short program at Riverside Par.  It will started with the Pledge of Allegiance led by the Boy Scouts.  Then an Honor Roll of the fallen will be read by Robert Bird followed by the placing of a rose in the river to remember those lost at sea.  The program will conclude with a rifle salute and taps.  EVERYONE is encouraged to practice social distancing protocols during the programs.  There will be NO parade or indoor rainy day program due to COVID-19.
  • West Concord American Legion Langemo Post 295 will have no speakers Memorial Day but abbreviated ceremonies.  9:00 a.m. at Hegre Church Cemetery, 9:15 a.m. St. Vincent Cemetery, 9:45 a.m. Concord Cemetery.  The public is invited to join a vehicle procession after the Concord observance.  The procession will stage along Front Street in West Concord and leave at 10:30 a.m. following a designated route throughout the city.  They ask you to join them to display your respect to the men and women who gave the supreme sacrifice to our nation.
  • Mazeppa:  There will be no parade.  The Mazeppa American Legion Honor Guard will be placing wreaths and displaying flags along with a military rifle salute and taps at these cemeteries.

9:00 a.m.  Poplar Grove

9:30 a.m.  Bear Valley

10:00 a.m.  Mazeppa

10:30 a.m. Mazeppa Maple Street Bridge and Veterans Memorial

There will be no speakers or programs.

  • Cannon Falls is having no Memorial Day observances.  No parade and no program at the Cannon Falls Cemetery.

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