MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Much more than just a day off from work or school, Memorial Day is about remembering the people who died serving in our armed forces.
There are events to honor that sacrifice all across the country. The biggest in Minnesota is at Fort Snelling National Cemetery.
The site is the final resting place for more than 219,000 people.
Fort Snelling is the fourth busiest national cemetery in the country, with 30 to 35 burials a day during the summer and more than 5,000 a year. For comparison, Arlington does about 30 a day. But, that is a military cemetery.
A wreath presentation is scheduled for 9:45 a.m. Monday at Fort Snelling, followed by a parade and ceremony. Gov. Mark Dayton was slated to be there, but officials in his office said he was not feeling well.
Retired Brig. Gen. Joseph Kelly is giving the Memorial Day Address. The Olivia native currently oversees state agency preparedness and emergency response for all types of disasters in Minnesota. He served 31 years in the Army and Minnesota National Guard.
Again, one group is joining in the tradition this year by honoring as many fallen heroes as possible. The group, Flags for Fort Snelling, will place small flags by the grave sites of servicemen and women.
The effort started last year when one family realized Fort Snelling stopped its flag memorials years ago. In 2015, the group placed 3,000 flags. This year, they raised enough money for 10,000 flags.
On Monday morning, 150 volunteers put out the flags before the ceremony began.
Not far from the cemetery, historic Fort Snelling has a living timeline of military history. Reenactors in costumes interpret different eras of America’s military, from the colonial era to the 20th Century.
Veterans receive free admission to Fort Snelling on Memorial Day.