Cadets Zac Myhre, Jared Schroeder, and Liam Richardson work to place a few of the 3500 wreaths at the Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery near Camp Ripley. - photo by Cindy McCarthy, 1st Lt, CAP
C/Amn Jared Schroeder works with his grandfather, 2nd Lt Ken Baalson, preparing wreaths for placement. - photo by Cindy McCarthy, 1st Lt, CAP
Northland residents honor Veterans in Wreaths Across America ceremony
Web posted December 24, 2013
Wreaths Across America joins hundreds of Civil Air Patrol (CAP) squadrons and community organizations in the same mission each December to remember, honor, and teach others about our military veterans. Ceremonies to honor fallen veterans are synchronized to begin at the same hour throughout all fifty states, following the same format everywhere.
Despite the unity of purpose and similarity of ceremony during Wreaths Across America Day on December 14, 2013, each squadron encounters circumstances which make their participation unique.
For example, weekend temperatures approached an unseasonably warm 80 degrees for southern California ceremonies. At the Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery in Little Falls, Minnesota, Crow Wing Composite Squadron members bundled up for typical winter temperatures which hovered around zero.
The sun peeked through the gray winter skies as the Civil Air Patrol, military organizations, and community members gathered to begin the ceremony. Crow Wing’s Color Guard marched to the grounds on icecovered walkways as a biting breeze lowered the wind chill further.
Wading through nearly ten inches of snow, squadron members and other community volunteers placed wreaths honoring over 3500 fallen veterans. Three generations of CAP members worked together in the brisk temperatures including 2nd Lt Ken Baalson of Emily, a Vietnam veteran, who teamed with his grandson C/Amn Jared Schroeder to prepare wreaths for placement.
After he placed a wreath, C/Amn Schroeder stepped back, offered a slow salute and a brief moment of silence before moving to the next fallen veteran. He was assisted by other CAP members from the Northland area including C/2nd Lt Emmett Richardson and C/A1c Liam Richardson, both of Fifty Lakes, and C/A1c Zac Myhre of Mission, as well as several other CAP members.
The sky turned gray and new snow began to fall as they completed the last wreath placements. Even on a cold winter day, the members of north-central Minnesota’s Crow Wing Squadron felt genuine warmth for their part in the WAA mission to remember, honor, and teach.
Crow Wing Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol would like to extend their sincere appreciation for all Northland folks who sponsored a wreath through Crow Wing CAP and Wreaths Across America this year. While there are other organizations who participate in the Camp Ripley ceremony, donations through CAP return a small amount from each sponsorship to the squadron to further leadership training.
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