Kay Swenson, mother of slain Marine Lance Cpl. Curtis Swenson, opened the ground-breaking ceremony for the first Gold Star Memorial in Minnesota with these words.
“When our loved ones go into service, especially onto hostile ground, our families serve alongside them. When they don’t come home, our service never ends. Our constant vigil is eternal. This monument will be a place to gather, reflect and honor one’s loved ones with the support of the community. There are gold star families’ representing all branches, generations, and battles. It is our responsibility to never forget the sacrifice the family pays.”
About 40 people attended the ceremony including members of the Kasson American Legion Color Guard.
The monument will be located on the grounds of the Dodge County Government Services Building in Mantorville. The memorial will be made of black marble and will be about seven feet tall and about 15 feet wide. It will have benches built into it to provide a meeting place for family members and others to rest and reflect. A silhouette of a soldier is cut out of the marble. This monument will be placed so that the soldier is saluting the American flag that flies in front of the Government Services Building.
Cpl. Swenson’s father, Dave Swenson, and Scott Eggert serve as co-chairs of a group of volunteers that committed a few years ago to bringing this monument to the state. The pandemic slowed down their efforts but now the group is on track to dedicate the monument on Sept. 26, the day this year set aside to honor the mothers and other family members of those lost while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. Each year, the day falls on the fourth Sunday in September.
Eggert explained that fundraising is through the Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams Medal of Honor Foundation of Kentucky in conjunction with the CPL Curtis M. Swenson Memorial Fund. Those wishing to donate may contact treasurer Kay Swenson, firstname.lastname@example.org or go online to https://woodywilliams.org/monuments/mantorville-mn.html.Donors may also contact members of the committee; Monica Eggert, Kay Swenson, Rod Peterson, Emily Woslager, and Teresa Czaplewski.