To the editor:
A letter appeared in the June 6 edition of the Hastings Star Gazette which wrongly criticized the Hastings city government for a lack of respect towards fallen veterans laid to rest in Hastings. To be clear, the Memorial Day programs, of which there are four in town, are organized and presented by the Hastings American Legion and the Hastings VFW. The city government does not participate, other than providing our reserve police members for traffic control, and lending the city's PA system, both free of charge. The mayor is always invited to speak as well, but does nothing more than that at the occasion.
The Hastings American Legion and VFW have done a commendable job, year after year, in putting together the annual Memorial Day services. We're the only city in the state to conduct four services, located at the Veterans Home, Roadside Park, Soldiers and Sailors Cemetery, and Veterans Park at the pavilion on the river. After the last service, veterans and their families are always invited to the American Legion for a free light luncheon buffet. That is all quite a commendable effort.
The words of all the speakers at these occasions memorializes all our fallen soldiers, no matter where they are laid to rest, and recognizes their sacrifice so that we can remain free. It's a touching group of ceremonies put together by these citizens of Hastings, the VFW and American Legion. And I want to personally thank them for their efforts, year after year.
Balsanek is a Hastings City Council member