Freedom’s cost accounted: Copper Country honors war dead
CALUMET — Flags flapped in the warm spring wind on Monday, as veterans saluted and taps was played in ceremonies here and across the country on Memorial Day.
The annual ceremony in Lakeview Cemetery was one of many observances held in and around the greater Copper Country region.
This year’s event in Calumet included a moment of silence for Marshall Kipina, a soldier from Calumet who served in the Vietnam War and until his remains were identified recently was listed as missing in action.
Years after his death in 1966, Kipina has finally been accounted for.
In Lakeview Cemetery alone there are more than 400 known veterans. The actual number of veterans buried there could be as high as 3,000, said Legion Post 61 commander David Crowley.
One of the speakers, Crowley likes to see the numerous young people and the continuous large crowds attending the ceremony.
“This has been going on 50-some years, because it was going on when I was in high school,” he said.
Crowley said Memorial Day is a time for all Americans to consider the cost of freedom.
“I think it’s important that we don’t forget what it costs to keep our freedom,” he said. “There are so many things being lost to history.”
For the veterans and non-veterans alike, Memorial Day is an important reminder, said retired Marine Lt. Col. Lee Barkell.
“I think of all the young people…young people full of life, full of dreams, and they put those aside and went out to do what the country needed. So many didn’t come back, and so it’s only right for the living to come and recognize the sacrifice,” Barkell said. “Not everybody’s a great hero. Not everybody’s on the Medal of Honor wall, but they all went out and did their duty.”
Even for those who made it home, life isn’t the same, and that impacts entire families. For those who lose a loved one in battle, the impact is even greater.
“It’s just dropping a bomb on a family. It leaves a hole,” Barkell said. “… It’s good that people come out to pay respect.”
Retired Marine Lt. Col. Casey Polkinghorne, a speaker at the Calumet ceremony, encouraged those in attendance to pass on the importance of Memorial Day to their children and be thankful for that sacrifice.