Faribault Memorial Day Back to Pre-COVID
John McDonough, Commander of the Rice County Central Veterans Association was joined on a recent KDHL AM Minnesota program by two veterans being honored on Memorial Day.
Honorary Grand Marshal Tracy McBroom was in studio along with Honored Combat Veteran Don Langer.
McBroom is the Rice County Veterans Services Officer and is an Air Force Veteran. Langer served in Vietnam as an infantryman.
The Grand Marshal Joseph Skodje turned 100 years old in March. He was born in Faribault, served in World War II. He was a 2nd Lieutenant Army Air Corps pilot.
Skodje is quoted on the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) website saying, "It was a beautiful day on the prairie near Fort Ransom, North Dakota. I was visiting the farm homes of my stepmother's brother and sister. Arriving home at 808 7th Street North, Fargo, I found a telegram waiting for me." (The telegram said Report to the OQMC in Washington, D.C. without delay! (Office of the Quartermaster General). "So ended my day, Sunday, December 7 in 1941! PEARL HARBOR!!"
From Washington, D.C. he traveled to Minneapolis and applied for and was accepted into the Army Air Corps. He went on to become a pilot and spent time training in San Antonio, Texas, Stamford, Texas, Garden City, Kansas, Ellington Field in Houston, Texas, Bergstrom Field, Austin, Texas, Grenada, Mississippi, Alliance, Nebraska and Fort Wayne, Indiana.
In England he was assigned to the 442 Troop Carrier Squadron and flew in the Invasion of Holland.
After the war Joe earned a degree in Engineering from the University of North Dakota. He and wife Helen lived in Minneapolis before relocating to Clearwater, Florida with their growing family of 3 children. Joe worked for Honeywell as a industrial and safety engineer.
In the fall of 2018, Joe left Florida and came to Faribault to be near his son. He often jokes that people don't typically move from Florida to go north after retirement.
Tracy McBroom was born and raised in Pemberton, Mn. After graduating from Waldorf-Pemberton High School she joined the U.S. Air Force and worked 20 years as an Air Traffic Controller.
McBroom was stationed in Germany, England, Italy, Delaware, Texas and retired while working in California. While in the service she received her bachelor's degree through Embry riddle Aeronautical University, majoring in professional aeronautics.
After retirement she moved with her family to Elysian, Mn. and has been the Rice County Veterans Service Officer since 2009.
Don Langar likes to go by the name Farmer Don because it has been his passion. Don was born and raised in Faribault. He graduated from Bethlehem Academy in 1967.
Don worked on the family farm west of Faribault until 1969 when his "friends and neighbors" selected him for the draft and he entered the U.S. Army. Eventually he was assigned to the 199th Light Infantry Brigade.
He arrived in-country Vietnam in July of 1969 and after one year of sustained combat as an infantryman he returned to the U.S. in July of 1970. He was honorably discharged from active duty in February 1971.
You can hear the emotional story he told on AM Minnesota about going east a couple years ago to visit family members of a his best friend in Vietnam who was killed in action. I have included a podcast of the program below.
McDonough told listeners unlike a year ago there will be a brief, poignant program at the Veterans Memorial on the north lawn of the Rice County Courthouse in Faribault beginning 9:00 a.m.
The Memorial Day Parade did not happen last year but is back. The parade will start 10:00 a.m. at the south end of Central Avenue. Then go north to 6th Street NW before going west to Central Park.
There was a Central Park Program last year but people were encouraged to listen on their radios or stay socially distanced in the park. There were a few people in the park and most people did obey the request. The program which will again be broadcast on KDHL 920 AM, 97.9 FM, KDHL app.
The program begins 15 minutes after the parade concludes. I have said over the years around 11:00 a.m. Listen to the podcast below.
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