Thousands paytribute to veteranswho gave their lives

Doug Johnson cradled his 3-week-old granddaughter, Paige Vosson, while grandson Dillon Vosson, 4, placed a daisy at the foot of the Minnesota Vietnam Veterans Memorial in St. Paul.
“I just wanted them to be here — it means a lot,” Johnson said. “It’s good for them to learn early what this is all about.”
Johnson, a Vietnam War veteran from Anoka, and his grandchildren were among thousands of people — from Harley riders to widows — who remembered casualties of war Monday during Memorial Day services throughout the Twin Cities.
In the 220 years since the United States claimed its independence from Great Britain, more than 1.2 million soldiers have died in wars fought at home and abroad.
“This is for Americans who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country,” said one of the many speakers at the site of the memorial, a granite wall engraved with the names of Minnesotans who perished in Vietnam.
Memorial Day began about 130 years ago when Southern women honored the memory of both Union and Confederate soldiers who had fallen during the Civil War, which claimed more than 600,000 American lives.
The day has also come to serve as a reminder of the men and women, now gone, who served their country during times of peace.
At Lakewood Cemetery in southwest Minneapolis, families honored veterans lost both in war and in peace. Flags and flowers adorned rows of graves in the massive yard.
Martin and Alice Fowler of Minneapolis walked among the decorated graves, remembering many friends and relatives who served their country. Despite the cool dampness of the overcast morning, their mood was bright.
Said Martin Fowler: “This is really a beautiful place.”
— Daily Staff