A tour to learn of the past

Published 9:15 am Saturday, May 26, 2018

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

I hope you are able to find time to relax and spend time doing the things that rejuvenate your spirit. I also hope you will pause to remember all those who have served our country through military service.

You may already be in that spirit if you were able to visit the Traveling Vietnam Wall Memorial recently at the Mower County Fairgrounds. What a great honor for Austin to have hosted that special reminder of a part of our nation’s history.

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We hope you will join us for another event that will focus on those from Mower County whose legacies include service in a variety of military branches.

The Hormel Historic Home and the Mower County Historical Society have partnered to offer another tour of Oakwood Cemetery on Sunday, June 3. This tour will focus on the lives of soldiers and will feature stories dating from the Civil War through Vietnam. Jaimie Timm, curator at the MCHS, will lead groups of up to 15 people on an hour long journey through the sometimes tragic, but always inspiring, lives of our Mower County heroes.

According to Timm, she will highlight lives such as that of Norman Lee Hinkle of Austin. Hinkle was the 8th Mower County soldier to die in Vietnam. A 1966 graduate of AHS, he was a paratrooper with the 101st Airborne.  He took basic training in Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri and advanced training at Fort Ord, California, followed by paratrooper training in Fort Benning, Georgia. He died on a Navy hospital ship while undergoing surgery to remove shrapnel in 1968.

Another story like that of Donald Gehling from Grand Meadow will offer a taste of what some soldiers felt during their service. In a letter home in 1967 he wrote, “You ask if I was wondering about the world. Well, frankly I am. I am over here with many other guys fighting for what we believe in and the folks back home don’t seem to care.”

I have written before of George Hormel’s connection to military efforts of the past. From the Civil War (Uncles Herman and Henry Decker), to the Spanish American War (brother Ben Hormel and cousin Jay Decker), to World War I (son Jay), George’s family did their part in preserving the freedoms of America. Both George and Jay had great respect for men who participated in military service and supported them through holding jobs during deployment and specifically recruiting those who had returned home from service.

We hope you will join us for this moving tour to honor our veterans. Space is limited so please register at the HHH or online at www.hormelhistorichome.org/calendartickets.html.

Oakwood Cemetery Tour, Mower County Soldier Stories 

3:30 or 5:30 p.m.; 60 minute a tour, Sunday, June 3

Led by Jaimie Timm of the Mower County Historical Society. Cost is $8 for members of the HHH or Historical Society and $10 for nonmembers. Limited to 15 per tour. Tickets available at www.hormelhistorichome.org/calendar