Reporting Esme Murphy
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – On Monday, our nation will take time to remember those who’ve lost their lives while serving our country. Memorial Day ceremonies and parades are scheduled throughout Minnesota.
One of the largest was at Fort Snelling Cemetery, where thousands attended Monday morning’s event.
Many noted that to be at Fort Snelling on Memorial Day served as a reminder that the holiday isn’t about taking the day off from work, setting up a picnic or firing up the BBQ. It’s a day to honor the military members who’ve lost their lives while serving.
Judy Vossler’s husband, Larry, was a Vietnam vet who died of cancer 11 years ago at age 58.
“I am here to see my husband,” Vossler said.
Judy said her husband loved Fort Snelling.
“He was on the cemetery committee here, which is why he has such a choice spot and so easy to find,” she said.
Larry Vossler was the commander of the Hopkins VFW Post 425. His grave stone reads “I’d Rather Be At The VFW.”
“One of the few that says something like that, and trust me – he would’ve loved to have been at the VFW,” she said. “I miss him a lot.”
Down the very same row of headstones, Tim Stoffel knelt and brushed off the grave of his grandfather, Leander Stoffel. A Navy veteran of World War II, Stoffel played taps at Fort Snelling funerals for years. He died in 2002 at age 81.
“Just a very humbling man that taught me a lot in life,” Tim Stoffel said.
Tim comes every year on Memorial Day and on his grandfather’s birthday.
“He was a great man, one of my great friends that I miss dearly,” Stoffel said.
One of the speakers who spoke at the main ceremony was Lt. Col. Mark Weber of Rosemount, a decorated member of the Minnesota National Guard who is battling terminal cancer.
His self-published book, “Letter to My Sons,” has sold more than 10,000 copies.
“The passage of time helps us forget the pain and suffering, makes us forget. And so we must return year after year to reflect upon the sacrifice of hundreds of thousands of our fellow citizens,” Weber said.
Other Memorial Day events at historic Fort Snelling included re-enactments and large military demonstrations.