Despite cold, wet and windy weather, a small crowd gathered at the Veterans Memorial Park amphitheater in downtown Detroit Lakes on Thursday morning, Nov. 11, to commemorate Veterans Day.

VFW Post 1676 Commander Jason Bristlin delivered some brief remarks, Chaplain Gary Rehborg gave the invocation and the Lake Region Veterans Color Guard offered a 21-gun salute before "Taps" was played.

Members of the Lake Region Veterans Color Guard presented a 21-gun salute during Veterans Day ceremonies in Detroit Lakes on Thursday, Nov. 11. (Vicki Gerdes / Tribune)
Members of the Lake Region Veterans Color Guard presented a 21-gun salute during Veterans Day ceremonies in Detroit Lakes on Thursday, Nov. 11. (Vicki Gerdes / Tribune)

"Veterans Day is an opportunity to publicly commemorate the contributions of living veterans and to show appreciation toward them," Bristlin said. "But beyond the free meals, discounts, tributes, and platitudes given to veterans on this day, there is also an opportunity to truly show them your appreciation.

Detroit Lakes VFW Post 1676 Commander Jason Bristlin addressed the crowd during 2021 Veterans Day ceremonies in Veterans Memorial Park on Thursday, Nov. 11. (Vicki Gerdes / Tribune)
Detroit Lakes VFW Post 1676 Commander Jason Bristlin addressed the crowd during 2021 Veterans Day ceremonies in Veterans Memorial Park on Thursday, Nov. 11. (Vicki Gerdes / Tribune)

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"If you find a veteran, ask them a few questions. Ask them when they served, where they served, what branch did they serve in, what did they do while they served, what was it like to serve, and finally, why did they serve. Listen to their story and then you will truly know about the service you are thanking them for. It will make all the difference to them, and might give you a greater appreciation for our veterans and the freedoms they ensured we can all enjoy."

Gary Rehborg, chaplain of Detroit Lakes VFW Post 1676, addressed the crowd prior to offering an invocation prayer during Veterans Day ceremonies in Detroit Lakes' Veterans Memorial Park on Thursday, Nov. 11. (Vicki Gerdes / Tribune)
Gary Rehborg, chaplain of Detroit Lakes VFW Post 1676, addressed the crowd prior to offering an invocation prayer during Veterans Day ceremonies in Detroit Lakes' Veterans Memorial Park on Thursday, Nov. 11. (Vicki Gerdes / Tribune)

Before offering up a prayer in honor of area service men and women, past and present, chaplain Rehborg talked about how the past week had been a memorable one for veterans, because of two milestone anniversaries: The 246th birthday of the United States Marine Corps on Wednesday, Nov. 10, and the 100th anniversary of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, which has stood as a memorial to all unknown, fallen U.S. soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery since Nov. 11, 1921.

"The Marine Corps has been in existence since the year before the Declaration of Independence was signed," Rehborg noted; he also urged anyone who makes a visit to the nation's capital in Washington, D.C., to stop by the tomb at Arlington while they're there, as it is an exceptionally moving experience.