I had the pleasure of starting my Memorial Day by covering American Legion Post 400's service. While the participants regrouped after rain chased them away from Rochester Cemetery, we took a moment to interview Post Commander Marvin Havenstein. We exchanged smiles and laughs while the photographer got things ready, so I was taken aback for a moment at what happened next. The first question I asked Marvin was why this ceremony was such an important thing to do. He immediately became choked up and had to take a few seconds to wipe away the tears that welled up in his eyes. This is for the men and women who served, Marvin said, to remember them. He says without all of those who gave their lives, we wouldn't have the freedoms we enjoy today. We have a democracy, Marvin said, which is the best thing in the world. The interview complete, I mentioned to Marvin how emotional this day still is. He says it means a lot to him - he lost three uncles during World War II. His own service didn't go exactly as planned. He told me he went to sign up for the draft, but was told they probably wouldn't take him - he had a problem with one of his hands and he'd become the head of his household at the young age of 13. Unwilling to take no for an answer, Marvin signed up for the National Guard, where he spend eight years in the Guard and Army Reserves. That is how badly he wanted to serve his country. His story is one of many. To Marvin and all the others who've shown that same dedication to serving our country, we take time this Memorial Day to say, "Thank you."
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