Memorial Day to be celebrated with changes

By: 
Patrick Fisher, The New Prague Times

New Prague will be celebrating Memorial Day on Monday, May 25, but there will be changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The New Prague Veterans Honor Guard will still be visiting area cemeteries and the featured speaker will be Donald Walser, who was the Judge Advocate of the American Legion, Department of Minnesota, for 20 years. This year there will be no parade along the community’s Main Street as it would be difficult to observe social distancing for veterans and others that participate in the parade.

The New Prague Veterans Honor Guard will still visit area cemeteries. The reading of names of deceased veterans interred at each cemetery will be read, the Honor Guard will have a rifle salute and there will be the playing of Taps.

The Honor Guard will gather at the Park Ballroom at 8:15 a.m. and depart at 8:45 for area cemeteries.

The schedule includes: - 9 a.m. - St. Patrick - 9:25 a.m. - St. Benedict (a change from last year) - 9:55 a.m. - Lanesburgh - 10:15 a.m. - Union Hill - 10:30 a.m. - Czech National - 10:45 a.m. - St. Wenceslaus

Father Eugene Theisen will conduct a Memorial Day Mass at the St. Wenceslaus Cemetery Chapel at 10 a.m. Those attending the Mass and services at the cemeteries are asked to please remember to observe social distancing.

Another change is that the program usually held in Memorial Park will be replaced with a recorded program that will be broadcasted on KCHK at 11:45 a.m. New Prague American Legion Commander Paul Busch will act as the emcee for the program. Included in the program will be a welcome by New Prague Mayor Chuck Nickolay and Pastor Christopher Mark of New Day Church will give the invocation. The program will also have a speech from Walser and a reading of a list of names of New Prague area servicemen buried at Fort Snelling National Cemetery, overseas, and elsewhere. The names that were read at the area cemeteries will not be repeated during the radio program.

Featured speaker Walser is a retired attorney who was the Judge Advocate of the American Legion, Department of Minnesota, for 20 years. As Judge Advocate, he was the legal advisor for the state organization and he served as parliamentarian at all state conventions and executive committee meetings.

Walser is a graduate of the University of St. Thomas and the University of Minnesota Law School. He retired after 39 years with the Kraft Walser Law Firm, which has offices in Hutchinson and Olivia. He was a state and national certified Civil Trial Specialist.

A three-year Vietnam era Army veteran, Walser is a member of Hutchinson Legion Post 96. He is vice chair of the National Constitution and By-laws Committee of the American Legion and he is parliamentarian at the national conventions. He resides in Hutchinson with his wife Susan and his grandson, Nick.

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