By WCCO-TV Staff

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — After a one-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Memorial Day traditions to honor Minnesotans who died serving their country resumed again at Fort Snelling National Cemetery.

Gov. Tim Walz attended a Monday morning ceremony at the Minneapolis landmark. While the ceremony was not open to the public, it will be streamed online later Monday.

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Unlike last year, volunteers were allowed to place flags near the headstones of those buried at Fort Snelling. A thousand volunteers helped place the flags on Sunday, each placing roughly 10 times more flags than in a normal year, when there are about 6,7000 volunteers.

“It can take anywhere from 5 hours to 12 hours,” said Joanne Malmstedt, the founder of Flags for Fort Snelling. “We do have amazing volunteers. Our volunteers are diehard, and they’ll do anything they can to make sure the flags get out.”

Fort Snelling National Cemetery is open Monday for those who wish to pay tribute to those buried there.

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People have been driving in from all over the metro area to pause and pay tribute to those who have served. Among them, Thomas Gilbertson-South, who lives in Coon Rapids and went to the cemetery to remember his grandfather, Henry Alvis Swan.

“Every day getting home from school he was always in his chair, ready to see us home,” Gilbertson-South said. “And had a box of Fig Newtons ready for us and we were ready to play games with him.”

Gilbertson-South has visited Fort Snelling National Cemetery every Memorial Day since he was 9 years old.

“It was a no-brainer in that sense to keep going,” he said, “but it was also one of those I miss my grandpa, I want to tell him about my life. What’s been going on.”

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