There are a few minor changes to this year's plans, but Farmington's veterans are ready to observe Memorial Day this weekend.
While many people plan to attend the annual service at Corinthian Cemetery on Monday, Farmington American Legion and VFW members are preparing for three ceremonies over the weekend.
Two ceremonies are scheduled for Sunday. The first will be at Farmington Lutheran Cemetery, at 12:30 p.m. The second, at Castle Rock Valley Cemetery, begins at 2 p.m. Marchers from both the American Legion and VFW families who are available to be part of color guards for the two ceremonies are asked to meet at the VFW at 11:30 a.m.
The local veterans' organizations conduct those two ceremonies for a simple reason, VFW Commander Ron Ersfeld said - because some of Farmington's deceased veterans are buried in those two cemeteries. Ersfeld said there are about 20 deceased military men and women buried at Farmington Lutheran's site, and another 55 at Castle Rock.
Monday, there will be a Memorial Day observation at Corinthian Cemetery. Lineup will begin behind the Farmington American Legion at 9:15 a.m., with a group marching down to the cemetery just prior to the 10 a.m. start.
The keynote speaker this year will be Major Kent Porter of Farmington. He is a member of the Red Bull Division of the Minnesota National Guard. He serves as the executive officer of the First Battalion, 151st Field Artillery, headquartered in Montevideo.
Other speakers include Hugh Swift, who will deliver the flag tribute; Jim Deegan Jr., who will read "In Flanders Field," Mayor Todd Larson and Annette Kuyper of the Yellow Ribbon Network. The ceremony is hosted by Farmington VFW Sypal/Lundgren Post 7662 and the Clifford Larson American Legion Post 189, Farmington. Music will be provided by Farmington High School band students.
Memorial Day is a day to remember the men and women who have given their lives for freedom, Ersfeld said.
"We're honoring our dead. It's a tribute to all of our fallen comrades," Ersfeld said. "When you go out to the cemetery, you see a lot of your old buddies. It kind of jogs the old memories."
There is also a certain amount of preparation that goes into getting ready for the community's Memorial Day observances.
The Farmington American Legion Auxiliary and Farmington VFW Ladies Auxiliary gather every year to make poppy wreaths that will be placed on the graves of departed auxiliary members. Members of both organizations are invited to participate in the wreath making.
On Friday, the VFW and American Legion members will gather at Corinthian Cemetery to place grave markers and flags on the graves of Farmington's deceased veterans. Volunteers are asked to come to the cemetery at 9:30 a.m. to help with the decorating.