8/7/2014 3:03:00 PM Veterans Memorial Park dedication is Saturday
by Sue Sullivan
The Grand Opening of the Cannon Falls Veterans Memorial Park is Saturday, August 9.
In "A salute to the dedication and sacrifice of the brave men and women who served and those who are serving in the U.S. Military to protect American Freedom," the dedication ceremony begins at 3 p.m.
The City of Cannon Falls and local Veterans organizations extend an invitation to veterans and their spouses and survivors, veterans groups and the general public to attend and participate.
Bob Rapp will give a welcoming statement followed by the Presentation of Color by the Color Guard. Jim Bowen will sing the National Anthem and Pastor Dan Forsgren will give an invocation.
After the recognition of sponsors, volunteers and contributors, and an introduction of the VIPs, National President of the Ladies Auxiliary to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Ann Panteleakos, will be the keynote speaker.
Taps will be played by Roger Otte and Abe Anderson with closing remarks by Rapp, benediction by Pastor Forsgren and the Color Guard retires the colors.
A celebration immediately follows the dedication with cake and light refreshments at the VFW Post 4452.
A street dance begins at 5 p.m. on Mill Street between Cannon River Winery and Mill Street Tavern.
When the Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall came to Cannon Falls in about 2005, Ray Rapp realized that Cannon Falls needed to acknowledge its veterans as the other Minnesota communities do. The old trout pond was closed so he approached the City Council about building on that site.
Businessmen who meet for coffee at Brewsters, of which Rapp is a member, took the project on and the seed money was planted.
In 2008 then newly organized Sons of the American Legion (S.A.L.) took over fundraising for the memorial and in 2010 appointed a committee to oversee construction of the site at the confluence of the Cannon River with the Little Cannon.
While independently financed by the non-profit with much donated material and hours of volunteer work, the Veterans Park remains a part of the city's park system.