John McDonough, Rice County Central Veterans Association President told KDHL AM Minnesota listeners Friday, May 26, 2023 they are ready for a Memorial Day Program in Faribault.

The Rice County Central Veterans were incorporated in 1990.


The Rice County Central Veterans Association is comprised of representatives of nine veterans organizations throughout the county.

American Legion Post 42 and Auxiliary Unit 43, Sons of the American Legion Squadron 43, Veterans of Foreign Wars Chapter 1562, Disabled American Veterans Chapter 20, 40/8 Voiture #1324, Cannon Valley Chapter Marine Corps League, Seabee's- Rice County, Minnesota Army National Guard-Faribault, Rice County Veterans Service Office.

McDonough was unsure how long they have been in charge of the Memorial Day and Veterans Day programs in Faribault.

The first Memorial Day observances were held in Faribault May 30, 1869 which is nearly three years before Faribault was incorporated (February 29, 1872).

Each year local veterans are chosen to be honored.

This year's Honored Combat Veteran is Doug Truman of Rice County Marine Corps League Toys for Tots fame.  Truman has been in charge of the local Toys for Tots efforts for a number of years.

Truman says he served in the Marines from 1966-1987.  He was stationed in Vietnam during the Tet Offensive for a year in 1968.

Doug Trumna, Honored Combat Veteran Memorial Day 2023. Photo by Gordy Kosfeld
Doug Trumna, Honored Combat Veteran Memorial Day 2023. Photo by Gordy Kosfeld

The Tet Offensive was a major escalation of the North Vietnamese attacks on South Vietnam.

Prior to the attacks there were primarily small skirmishes of guerilla warfare.

The Tet Offensive consisted of approximately 85,000 North Vietnamese troops attacking 5 major cities including Saigon (now Ho Chi Mihn City) and many small towns and villages.

Over 100 communities in South Vietnam were hit.

There were 12,727 U.S. and South Vietnamese troops killed.  7,721 civilians lost their lives and 18,516 were wounded.

The first couple months went well for North Vietnam, but US forces did retaliate and recover most of the areas occupied by North Vietnamese troops.

Initial estimates of North Vietnamese troops killed was 60,000.

The escalation was carried out to break the will of South Vietnam for the war and maybe turn the United States sour on the war also.

The escalation did receive more television coverage in the United States.  Some brutal pictures were brought into American living rooms.

Protests were conducted all over the United States of America.

Tom Deneen, Honorary Grand Marshal, was in the Army Reserves stationed at the 328th Ordinance Group in Faribault.

Deneen says he was activated once during the Berlin crisis in 1961.

He was stationed at Fort Polk, Louisiana.

Tom Deneen, Honorary Grand Marshal Memorial Day 2023. Photo by Gordy Kosfeld
Tom Deneen, Honorary Grand Marshal Memorial Day 2023. Photo by Gordy Kosfeld

Carol McHugo, Grand Marshal, was in the Army Reserve 1984-2007, serving during Desert Storm with the 205th U.S. Army Infantry Support Group based in Rochester, Mn.

Mike Fitzpatrick of Shieldsville says they are having their 45th Memorial Day Program at 2:00 p.m. at their Hirdler Park Memorial.

For many years there was a parade but since the Veterans Memorial was erected, they have had a program commemorating the day with no parade.

The Faribault observances begin with a brief program at 9:00 a.m. on the north lawn of the Rice County Courthouse where the Veterans Memorial is located. Scouts will assist in the raising of the United State, Minnesota and POW-MIA flags to half-staff.

At approximately 10:00 a.m. a Memorial Day Parade will start on the south end of Central Avenue at the Buckham Memorial Library.

It will proceed north on Central Avenue to 6th Street Northwest then turn west ending at Central Park.

The Central Park Memorial Day Program begins 10 to 15 minutes after the conclusion of the parade.

It will be broadcast live on KDHL Radio, 920 AM, 97.9 FM, worldwide on the FREE KDHL app.

Tradiionally the Central Park program is less than an hour.

I hope to see you there Monday.

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