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Moonlighters plan moving memorial dedication

Owatonna Veterans Memorial, November 11, moonlighters exchange club
Joni Hubred, News Editor

Members of the Moonlighters Exchange Club are praying hard for good weather on Veterans Day.

The club will host a dedication for Owatonna’s new Veterans Memorial at 9 a.m. on Nov. 11, starting on the site at 18th Street Southeast and Austin Road, near the Steele County History Center. Club member Katie Smith said the first order of business will be a flag raising ceremony with the Steele County Color Guard.

Smith said Moonlighters president Annette Duncan, who also serves as a regional vice president on the national Exchange board, will welcome guests. Owatonna Chamber of Commerce and Tourism president Brad Meier then leads the Pledge of Allegiance, with Rebecca Somers singing the National Anthem.

Smith said retired Chaplain Major Scott Fluegel will give an invocation. The order of the ceremony mirrors Exchange Club meetings, she said, which always begin with the Pledge and an invocation.

Along with a thank you to supporters, the dedication will include a special tribute to the late Mike Pierce, who spearheaded the memorial project with fellow Exchange Club member Nicole Wacek. Pierce passed away in July.

“Without Mike, this would have never happened in the time frame that we have,” Smith said. “He was one of our biggest cheerleaders. He had his hand in everything, every step of the way.”

State Sen. John Jasinski and Rep. John Petersburg will play a role in the outdoor portion of the ceremony, which concludes with “Echo Taps.” Attendees will be asked to then proceed silently to the History Center, where they’ll view a recorded message from U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar.

Smith said Klobuchar wanted to attend the ceremony in person– “this is close to her heart”–but had a scheduling conflict.

After a benediction by Rev. David Klawiter and closing remarks, Owatonna Public Schools Supt. Jeff Elstad will sing “God Bless America.” Smith said there will also be time to mingle and enjoy light refreshments inside the History Center.

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