Parade of Flags honors vets in Hendricks

HENDRICKS?-?The third Parade of Flags ceremony was held in Hendricks to honor veterans living and dead Thursday.

“We’re dedicating 35 new flags this year, making a total of 212,” said Marcy Sommervold, parade organizer. “Each flag is in memory of a deceased veteran or in honor of a living veteran. Each flag has their name on it.”

Sommervold pointed out one flag in the row across the park. The name of the flag pole was Carvel Asbjornson, PFC, United States Marine Corps.

“He was great in the (American) Legion in his day,” Sommervold said.

Patriotism was very much on everyone’s mind during the event and what it means to serve in the uniform of our country.

Brad Giles, former captain but always a Marine, was there to dedicate a flag in honor of his father, Roger Giles, who served in the Air Force from 1954 to 1958.

“Patriotism is a total selfless dedication I believe, to this great nation,” Giles said. “It is that dedication to God and country. That’s what it means to me.”

Twin brothers Brian and Jim Lawburgh are in the master’s program in mechanical engineering at South Dakota State University and attended the ceremonies to sing.

“Patriotism is being thankful that you live in a country which has freedom and remembering those who gave their lives,” Brian Lawburgh said.

The brothers and their mother, Wendy, harmonized on the National Anthem and “My Country ’tis of Thee” during the ceremony.

“To me, it’s a loyalty and responsibility to the community and my country to carry on the legacy of freedom of our country,” Jim Lawburgh said.

Spencer Robert Nelson, who was there to honor his son, Robert, an Army Special Forces medic stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C., also considers patriotism linked with freedom.

“It’s about protecting the rights and personal freedoms of the people and coming together as a nation to do so,” Nelson said.

For Leah Thorson, the day had special meaning as she dedicated a flag in memory of her father Lloyd Knutson, an Army veteran who died recently.

“Love of country and appreciation of our freedom,” Thorson said, “and remembering everybody who fought for our freedom.”

Eleven-year-old Jenna Pederson was present to honor two family veterans: her grandfather, Louvaine Pederson, and great-grandfather, Julius Johnson.

“I don’t know,” Pederson said. “(It’s) recognizing our veterans.”

Staale Solem from Norway was present at the occasion, visiting relatives in America.

“This is the first time I’ve been here for your national day,” Solem said. “It’s very nice to see them take care of their veterans.”