Memorial Day service May 26
By Nick Longworth
“There is one word that describes our American Flag, and that word is freedom. We do not live under the Nazi Swastika, the flag of the Rising Sun, or the Hammer and Sickle. Because of the American Veterans, we do live in this free country and we live under this flag. Thank God this is our red, white and blue; this is the stars and stripes we teach our young people to honor and respect” reads the front page of the program for the Memorial Day service being held on May 26, at 9:30 a.m. in the Park Rapids Area High School auditorium.
The annual event will begin with prelude music under the direction of Park Rapids High School band director John Cook.Commander Bob Safrotowich will begin the ceremony with the call to order, followed by the advancement of colors by the Park Rapids Legion Color Guard, Marine Corps Auxiliary, SAL and Boy Scouts.Soon after, the MIA and POW flag will be presented by Gary Schwartz, followed by the entrance of the Gold Star Parents with a drumroll.Safratowich will then take the lead again for a welcoming followed shortly by the national anthem done by the area high school band and the pledge of allegiance.The invocation will then be done by Chaplain Fred Brown, followed by the tribute to past commander Mike Swanson by Marv Vredenberg.The area high school band will then take over again once more for the armed forces salute followed by special music from the children’s choir under the direction of Sarah Kaufenberg.Special to this year’s program includes retired Lieutenant Colonel special guest speaker Greg Remus and also special music, with “Alone Yet Not Alone” by Faith Kern (again under the direction of Kaufenberg) being performed.Remus is currently the Hubbard County Veteran Service Officer. He entered the U.S. Army as a military police officer Jan. 5, 1983. He served over 22 years on active duty, retiring in January. He received numerous awards including the Meritorious Service Medal (3rd Award), Army Commendation Medal (5th Award), Army Achievement Medal (4th Award), National Defense Service Medal (2nd Award), Global War on Terrorism Medal, Army Service Ribbon and Overseas Service Ribbon (3rd Award). He is a graduate of the Military Police Officer Basic and Advance Courses, Combined Arms Service Staff School, Army Command and Staff College and the Air Command and Staff College.He served as Platoon Leader in the 463rd MP Co., Company Commander of the 218th MP Co. in Augsburg, Germany, Brigade Operations Officer of the 2nd MP Group (CID) in Manheim Germany, Provost Marshal of Augsburg Military Community and finally was the Professor of Military Science, commanding the Army ROTC at NDSU in Fargo, N.D. He retired in January 2005. Upon retirement, Remus and his family stayed in Fargo. He worked as a National Service Officer for the Disabled American Veterans until he moved to Park Rapids four years ago and became the Hubbard County VSO.He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in public/police administration from the University of North Dakota and a Master of Arts degree in management from Webster College, Mo.He is active within the local veterans’ community and is currently the adjutant of the local DAV Chapter 38 and the Post Service Officer for the local American Legion Post 212. Within the state, he is the president of the NW Association of County Veteran Service Officers, which encompasses 17 counties and is also the senior vice-commander for the MN DAV.He is married to Camille Remus and has three grown children.The presentation will near its end with a word about freedom and the benediction by Chaplain Fred Brown.To finalize, the Gold Star Parents will exit again with a drumroll and the retirement of colors will be done by the Color Guards.All are welcome to attend the event, which is also in commemoration of the 95th anniversary of the founding of the Park Rapids American Legion.