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New memorial to be dedicated in East Chain

EAST CHAIN — The East Chain Memorial Day Association will dedicate its new veterans memorial monument today. The event will take place at 10 a.m. at Wolter Park in East Chain.

Moby Whitman, treasurer of the association, said the group also will hold a delayed Memorial Day celebration, which did not take place in May because of COVID-19.

“It’s our 125th year, so we didn’t just want to skip it, so we’re going to have a mini-Memorial Day,” he said.

Whitman said the idea of a monument was conceived last year, when the group was planning the 125th Memorial Day event.

“We talked about doing something, and then we had a meeting last winter and we decided to go ahead with it. We had one party offer to pay for it,” Whitman said.

The 5-foot-tall, black stone monument cost about $4,500. It honors the five service branches.

Whitman said they ordered it through Blue Earth Monument and it took about six months to receive. The monument was put up this year but has not yet been dedicated.

Another part of the project involves pavers, which still need to be completed. They will be on the ground surrounding the monument. The name of every deceased veteran from East Chain will be on a paver. Each paver will include three names, and they will be categorized by wars, going back to the Civil War.

Whitman stressed that the memorial and pavers are strictly for East Chain area veterans.

“If you’re buried in one of East Chain’s five cemeteries, then your name will be on there automatically,” he said.

The pavers will be installed next year. The Memorial Day Association is still looking for donations to help pay for them. The cost is roughly $50 per paver and they ordered about 60.

This is the first veterans memorial East Chain has had, aside from small monuments in individual cemeteries.

Today’s service will include a short introduction, then the memorial will be dedicated. After the dedication, the Memorial Day event will take place.

Whitman noted that the group typically visits a different cemetery each year, but this year everything will take place at Wolter Park.

One cross will be set up for each of East Chain’s 176 veterans, going back to the Civil War. Area youth will place a wreath on each of the crosses and Whitman will read each veteran’s name.

“One hundred seventy-six crosses takes up a lot of room. It will be right along the lake,” Whitman said.

A firing squad will perform a salute and “Taps” will be played.

“Everyone needs to bring a lawn chair, and if you want to distance yourself, distance yourself. There’s plenty of room in the park,” Whitman said.

In the event of inclement weather, the ceremony will take place in the East Chain Activity Center.

“We just want to honor the vets. That’s what it’s all about,” Whitman said.

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