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La Crosse gets back to celebrating Memorial Day, after a year off because of COVID



Most people in the Coulee Region were forced to observe Memorial Day in private ways a year ago, with COVID-19 leading to cancellation of public events.  But in 2021, it was back to more normal ceremonies on Monday.

“I just wanted to say, it’s great to see everybody out and about again,” said Ty Bjornson from the U.S. Naval Reserve at the Riverside Park service Monday morning. 

Bjornson also took part last year in a special video ceremony which was broadcast and streamed online, in place of a live observance of the holiday.   

Dozens of spectators, many of them veterans, gathered at the bandshell.

Retired Gundersen physician Neal Taylor spoke about serving with the Air Force in Vietnam during the 1960’s. Taylor asked the audience to think of people who died in wartime, and the families they left behind.

Pat Young of the Amvets group in La Crosse read a poem given to him years ago, written by a girl in Soldiers Grove, called “Come to My Grave.”  

Veterans also marched or rode in the Memorial Day parades in La Crosse and other area communities which did not have parades on the holiday in 2020. Besides veterans and local children, the La Crosse parade included legislators Brad Pfaff and Jill Billings and Mayor Mitch Reynolds.



A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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