Lest they forget

HOUGHTON Veterans groups and the public will gather at cemeteries, memorials and veterans’ group posts throughout the Copper Country today to remember veterans who died to preserve freedom.

There will be extensive services at 11:45 a.m. at the Mountain View Cemetery in South Range, where 26 newly installed flagpoles surrounding the veterans’ plot will be dedicated.

At 10 a.m. at the L’Anse Evergreen Cemetery, the L’Anse High School Band and Courtney Clisch will perform and a wreath will be placed at the L’Anse Waterfront across from Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3897.

In Copper Harbor, the Fort Wilkins Historic State Park ceremony at 10 a.m. will feature music by Mel Jones, a program by Copper Harbor School students, and a presentation of colors by the Marine Corps league.

Shorter services and 21-gun salutes will be held at several other locations.

Hancock Alfred Erickson American Legion Post 186 Commander Frank Taucher Jr, whose post will make several stops, said public turnout at ceremonies has always been good.

“Some places have a very strong turnout, some not so much, but there’s always someone there to be respectful and honor our veterans,” Taucher said. “When you go to a service and see the people that turn up, and their respect for the men that have fallen, it brings something to your heart that you can’t explain.”

Jim Pintar of South Range Veterans of Foreign Wars Ranger Post 6165 said today will be a special day for his group with the dedication of the flagpoles at Mountain View, a cemetery that offers special recognition for veterans throughout the year.

Four of those flagpoles are for Silver Star recipients recognized for exceptional valor he noted, and Mountain View also has special plots for veterans, veterans and their spouses, and for cremated veterans.

“Some people compare it to a National Cemetery. Every (veteran’s) grave is marked with a white cross,” he said.

Pintar said Memorial day always brings crowds to the cemeteries, largely people remembering fallen friends and family members. He said members of the public can also show respect year-round simply by thanking veterans for their service, and encouraged younger veterans to get more involved by joining the veterans’ organizations that organize the ceremonies.

“It’s a good way to continue your service and give back to the community,” he said.

Jim Klutts, veterans services officer at the Houghton/Keweenaw Counties Veterans Administration, suggested members of the public who want to give back can do so by driving veterans to medical appointments in Iron Mountain in the VA’s van.

“People can come and sign up, we always need drivers,” he said.

To learn more, call Klutts at 482-0102.