It has been over 100 years since the Civil War tore our nation asunder. This monument in the LeMars Memorial Cemetery  is dedicated to the memory of men who have fought for our country and are buried in the LeMars cemeteries. It was constructed to commemorate Civil War dead. Since then, servicemen have given their lives in two world wars, Korea and Viet Nam. This monument has served as the background for LeMars Memorial Day services through the years in times of peace, global death struggles and stress. Remember the dead, lest we forget.  (Staff color by Dick Koerselman)
~Source: LeMars Daily Sentinel, May 27, 1966


Parade, Two Cemetery Services and
Avenue of Flags rites set Monday

Memorial Day next Monday will be observed in LeMars with cemetery services and the 2nd annual AVENUE OF FLAGS ceremony on the court house lawn.

The parade column will form at the corner of Central and First St. north and will move at 9 a.m. up Plymouth St. to Calvary Cemetery and then to LeMars Memorial Cemetery.

Parade Marshal will be retired Police Chief Fay Terpenning. Mr. Terpenning has served as marshal of LeMars Memorial Day parades every year since 1920.

Units in the procession will be the colors, Wasmer post Drum and Bugle corps, Co. A. marching troops, Wasmer Post Legionnaires, city officials, speakers, women’s auxiliaries, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, LeMars Municipal Band, Co. A. motor unit and LeMars fire trucks.

The 9:15 a.m. service at Calvary cemetery will open with a prayer offered by Rev. Albert O. Grendler, followed by “America” and “Star Spangled Banner” sung by the school chorus. Rev. Mark Walsh will deliver a short address, ending with the Co. A. firing squad salute and taps.

Wasmer Post Commander Fred Riter will preside at the 9:45 a.m. LeMars Memorial cemetery rites. Greg Larsen will give Lincoln’s Gettysburg address, with Logan’s Order read by Kathy Varce. Their parents are Mr. and Mrs. Charles Larsen and Rev. and Mrs. Harold Varce.

Prayer will be offered by Army Chaplain Merrill Davis at the cemetery and the Avenue of Flags.

The main address at the city cemetery this year has been transferred to the Avenue of Flags ceremony.  The speaker will be Father Grendler, assistant pastor at St. Joseph Catholic church, LeMars.

LeMars Municipal Band will begin the Avenue of Flags ceremony about 10:30 a.m. with a short concert of appropriate music.  At 11 o’clock Legionaire Lavern Schiefs will light an eternal flame at the bottom of the courthouse steps.

Following prayer, a wreath will be presented by D.C. Lenihan, veteran of the Spanish American War; John Raveling, World War I; Ed Wendt, World War II; and John Kilpatrick, Korean Conflict.  Remsen, Hinton, and Brunsville veterans organization color guards will attend.

Father Grendler will speak after placement of the last flag and the “Star Spangled Banner.”  The firing squad salute and taps will end the ceremony.

Something new this year will be the retiring of the colors just before sunset. The Municipal band will play a concert starting at 7 p.m. on the courthouse steps while all the flags are being folded for storage, ending with taps. Commander Riter said the sunset ceremony will begin about 7:15 p.m.

There are well over 160 flags for this year’s ceremony, compared to 91 at the first Avenue of Flags dedication just a year ago.  Also for the first time, a flag will be flown from the long unused courthouse lawn flag staff repaired during the last year. That flag will be on loan from the Lions Club which received a Stars and Stripes which has flown over the Capitol.

Source: LeMars Daily Sentinel, May 27, 1966

Hundreds Witness Impressive Rites for 166
Burial Flags on Court House Law

Solemn seconds of silence, stirring martial music and rededication to servicemen who have given their lives in defense of our country.

This is how LeMars marked one of the most memorable and colorful Memorial days ever observed here.

Under the direction of Wasmer Post, American Legion, the day started with a 9 a.m. parade Monday to Calvary and LeMars Memorial cemeteries, where graves were decorated to the fallen dead.

Parade Marshal was retired Police Chief Fay Terpenning, who has served in that capacity since 1920.

The emphasis shifted to the courthouse lawn where 166 burial flags of servicemen were arranged in the Avenues of Flags in at times tearful and then heart stirring ceremonies. There were 91 flags at the first Avenue of Flags last year.

Legionnaire Lavern Schleis lighted an eternal flame at the base of the courthouse steps at 11 a.m., following a half hour concert by the LeMars Municipal band under the direction of Phil Hauan.

A wreath was advanced to the eternal flame by four veterans representing four wards through an honor guard of the LeMars Drum and Bugle Corps. The invocation was offered by Chaplain Merrill Davis of Westmar College.

Rev. Albert O. Grendler, assistant pastor at St. Joseph Catholic church, in his brief remarks struck at the core of the observance. He told the crowd which jammed the flag avenues the sacrifice of the servicemen could be compared to that of Christ, who laid down His life for His brothers.

Father Grendler’s words were heard in a deep silence which followed the calling of the names of dead servicemen from Plymouth county. Co. A Guardsmen advanced two at a time with the burial flags to staffs in the courthouse lawn.

Cars passed the courthouse and visitors walked through the avenues of flags all Monday afternoon.

At 7 p.m. a new ceremony took place which added greatly to the significance of a day already crowded with memories. The Municipal band played a concert while Wasmer Post Legionnaires folded the flags, assisted by Boy Scouts of Troop 184. Legion Auxiliary members packed the flags in four special storage boxes made especially for that use.

Taps were sounded just as sunset and then the band struck up the Star Spangled Banner as the flag which has flown over the United States Capitol was lowered from the courthouse staff by Wasmer Post Commander, Fred Riter.

Source: LeMars Daily Sentinel, Monday & Tuesday, May 30 & 31, 1966 ~Contributed by Linda Ewin Ziemann

~Memorial Day Avenue of Flags, 1966

~Photos contributed by Tim Tone. His father's flag is displayed on the courthouse lawn each year.

Alfred E. Tone, WWII veteran, 1918-1962








~If you have any other 1966 year photos or stories, please share by emailing the county coordinator.