64th Annual
Memorial Day Services
Monday, May 28, 2001
Sherwood ND

 Part 1: 64th Annual International Memorial Day Services
 Part 2: The Korean War Commemorative Community Program
 Part 3: Some of the highlights of these 64 years

64th Annual International Memorial Day Services

The 64th Annual International Memorial Day service will be held in Sherwood on Monday May 28, 2001 beginning at 10:00 am with the exchanging of the Colors and welcoming of our Canadian Comrades and friends at the International Border 2 miles north of Sherwood. After the Border ceremony the troops and crowd will retire to the gym at Sherwood High for the program. Mr. Gary Skarphol, Commander of the American Legion State of North Dakota will be the guest speaker. Following the program there will be a parade down Main Street with a stop at the Firemen's Memorial to lay a Wreath in memory of our fallen firemen, then onto the Union Cemetery to decorate the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and Saluting of the Dead. After the ceremony at the Cemetery a lunch will be served at the Memorial hall and baseball games will follow in the afternoon and evening.

This special International Memorial Day service began 64 years ago by accident. Jack Burton, Canadian Customs Officer, invited George Knutson, US Customs Office to come with him to Carnduff SK. for Armistice services on Nov 11, 1937. When it came time to march in the parade all they had to march to was a set of bagpipes. Mr. Knutson didn't think this was much and stated so. Mr. Burton urged him to come march and see for himself, well need less to say Mr. Knutson was quite impressed as all who have ever marched behind a set of bagpipes will attest to. He told the bagpiper so and extended an invitation to the Scottish Gentlemen to come to Sherwood on Memorial Day 1938 and lead our parade. He also extended the same invitation to the Carnduff Branch of the Canadian Legion. Thus started the International Memorial Day service and that handshake and exchange of flags has continued all these 64 years.

Over the years there have many exciting things happen on this wonderful day. Three years ago was probably the most dramatic with Paul Murphy, chairman of the Survivors of the Sinking of the USS Indianapolis telling of how he rescued another North Dakota boy Ralph Dewing from sure death in the dark shark infested waters of the South Pacific. This year we will be using the theme used for the 50th Anniversary of The Korean War Commemorative Community Program and will be explained in the next article on Our 64th International Memorial day services.


The Korean War Commemorative Community Program

As in the past we have had a special theme for each program, 3 years ago it was the sinking of the USS Indianapolis and the 5 days at sea for 880 sailors being ate alive by sharks and drowning. Two years ago we recognized the POW/MIA program and remembered the many men who never returned only to be held either as a prisoner in some foreign land or just listed as missing in action. Last year it was the special occasion of 50 years since the beginning of the Korean War and this time period will continue until Veterans Day 2003.

This year we will be having something special again. The republic of South Korea has issued a Korean War Service Medal for those who served in Korea from 1950 - 1953. We have sixteen boys from this area that served in Korea. Our State Commander Gary Skarphol will present them with their Medals and a Certificate in a special presentation during the program.

The purpose of the Korean War commemorations is to honor the Korean War Veterans, their family members, especially families who lost loved ones; to recognize the contributions and sacrifices made on the home front; to provide Americans with a clear understanding and appreciation of the lessons and history of the Korean War; and to educate every generation of Americans on the historical impact of the Korean War in saving a nation from enslavement and preserving peace, freedom and prosperity.


Some of the highlights of these 63 years

Since the beginning of the International Memorial Day services in Sherwood in the 1938 we have had some Memorial Moments.

The first 14 years the program was held in the "Old gym" in the Sherwood High School. We then built the Memorial Hall down town in 1951 and the services were held there for the next 22 or 23 years.  After the new school gym was built we have held the program there for the last 25 years or so.  With the new gym floor and bleachers it makes a perfect setting for this ceremony. We are very happy to be able to use the school facilitates and have their complete cooperation.

During WW II the services were symbolic, what with the War taking place all over the World, no International border was safe to cross or live near.

Here was one between two countries that had no guards, just check points to stop at and declare your goods and then be on your way. The International  Peace Garden says it all in that we will never take up arms against each  other and here we are shaking hands across this border for the 64th time.

In 1957, the Drum & Bugle Corp and Rifle troop from Camp Shilo, Manitoba accepted our invitation to come and participate. That was the first time foreign troops had crossed our borders with their weapons. That invitation went through a lot of channels before it was approved. Our own Gov. Davis was the guest speaker that year and was one of the largest crowds ever to attend this event. It was estimated by the Canadian press that over 1500 people attended.

The services in 1998 were considered one of the most dramatic, as the theme was the sinking of the Indianapolis during the last days of WW II in the South Pacific and the subsequent loss of life that followed.  A Sherwood boy, Glen Peterson, was one of those who lost his life in that tragedy.

As we think of this Memorial Day and what it means to each one of us lets remember that this holiday represents more than the mere opening date of the neighborhood swimming pool.

Memorial Day signifies all the valor, consequence and memory of the  sacrifices made by countless men and women who have served our nation. It is a focal Point for Americans to recall and recommit to the enduring values of service to the community, whether that community is local, national  or even global.

On Monday, Memorial Day, wouldn't it be fitting and appropriate if Americans all around the world stopped for one minute at 3 p.m. local time in order to reflect on the sacrifices made by others for our nation. This would be called the 'National Moment of Remembrance"

These are just a few of the high lights of this special event and we invite you all to come take part as we remember these young people who gave their  lives that we might live in this free land.