Video: Howard Hong’s WWII Jeep makes its VFW debut with Craig Redalen behind the wheel

Back on May 18, I reported that I was going to do a story about a WWII Jeep that had recently been donated to VFW Post 4393.  Craig Redalen at Northfield’s VFW Post 4393 had given me the opportunity to take photos of it but I didn’t have time to do the whole story.  I contacted Corey Butler at Northfield Patch to see if he was interested and he was.  A few days later, Patch published Rob Hardy’s story with my photos: WWII Jeep Finds New Home at Northfield VFW:

Craig Redalen & WWII JeepIn 1946, Howard Hong left Northfield for war-ravaged Europe. The young St. Olaf philosophy professor, who would later become internationally known as a scholar and translator of the Danish philosopher Kierkegaard, had spent the war working at prisoner of war camps in Missouri and Iowa. When the war ended, he was called to service as senior field officer for the Refugee Division of the World Council of Churches. Between 1946 and 1948, he helped to resettle more than 250,000 war refugees.

During that time, Hong also became the owner of an iconic 1942 Willys Army Jeep, a veteran of the Normandy invasion, which he purchased at a U.S. Army auction in Paris. Back home in Minnesota… (continued)

Craig Redalen & WWII Jeep Craig Redalen & WWII Jeep Craig Redalen & WWII Jeep Craig Redalen & WWII Jeep
Craig Redalen drove the Jeep to and from today’s Memorial Day ceremony at the Northfield Area Veterans Memorial. I’ll have more photos when I publish my album of the event but here’s a 30-second video clip of Craig’s departure.

There is a story coming about this WWII Jeep. It involves VFW Post 4393.


Feel free to speculate while I work on the blog post.

Photo album: Sept 11 tenth anniversary memorial service

Northfield VFW Post 4393 Commander William Murphy led the 9/11 remembrance ceremony on Sunday morning.

See the large slideshow of 20 photos (recommended), or SLOW CLICK this small slideshow:

Photo album: Memorial Day ceremony, 2011

Among the speakers on Monday for the Memorial Day ceremony at the Northfield Area Veterans Memorial: VFW Post 4393 member Ken Grism, Bethel Lutheran Pastor Timothy McDermott, Retired Army Major John Fleming, Rice County Commissioner Galen Malecha, Northfield American Legion Commander Ray Ozman, and VFW Post 4393 Commander Bill Murphy.

Among my favorite photos:

Northfield Memorial Day ceremony, 2011 Northfield Memorial Day ceremony, 2011 Northfield Memorial Day ceremony, 2011 Northfield Memorial Day ceremony, 2011 Northfield Memorial Day ceremony, 2011

See my album of 102 photos, view the large slideshow (recommended), or slow-click this small slideshow:

Photo redux: Northfield Area Veterans Memorial dedication, Nov. 2005

This blog was not yet in operation when the Northfield Area Veterans Memorial Dedication was dedicated on Nov. 11,  2005.

See my album of 88 photos from that day, the large slideshow (recommended), or this small slideshow:

Memorial Day ceremony schedule: why is there no detailed info about it online?

It irritates me that, year after year, the only detailed information about the 9 am Memorial Day ceremony at Veterans Memorial Park is via a big paid advertisement in the print edition of Northfield News. Nothing online, that I can find:

Why the dearth of information online? Is there some sort of exclusive arrangement that the vets organizations have with the Northfield News? It’s maddening.

(To see a large version of the print ad, right-click on the image and open in a new tab/window or view it here.)

Photo album: Don Mills Family benefit at VFW

The Northfield VFW hosted s a benefit for the family of Don Mills yesterday (details here).

See my album of 9 photos, the large slideshow (recommended), or this small slide show:

VFW hosting a benefit for the family of Don Mills today

Shannon Mills, Robbie WigleyDon Mills with daughter TaylorOur Valley Pond Townhouse Association neighbor, Shannon Mills (pictured at left with my wife Robbie), has had a lot to deal with lately. 

Her townhouse burned down in 2009, she lost her job at Froggy Bottoms when it closed due to flooding last fall, and in February, her husband, Don Mills, died of colon cancer.

According to this blog post on KYMN: VFW hosts benefit for Mills family Saturday:

The Northfield VFW hosts a benefit for the family of Don Mills this Saturday. Don passed away in February after battling cancer, leaving behind wife Shannon and three children, Taylor, Christopher and Landon…

Saturday’s benefit will feature a variety of activities, including a spaghetti dinner at 5:00, a beer bash at 6:00 and a Texas Hold ‘em tournament that begins at 8:00. There will also be a silent auction starting at 4:00. If you’d like to make a cash donation to the family, you can do so at the First National Bank of Northfield. The benefit gets underway Saturday at the Northfield VFW.

Northfield area charitable gambling organizations: What percentage of their proceeds is going to community needs?

Which Northfield area organizations are giving a high/decent/respectable percentage of their charitable gambling proceeds to community needs and spending less on their operations?

Today’s Sunday Strib has a front-page story titled Where’s the ‘charity’ in charitable gambling? (That’s a premium link for the next few days, i.e., you need to be a print subscriber and logged in to access it.)

Pull-TabsThis year marks the 25th anniversary of state-regulated charitable gambling in Minnesota, the charitable gambling capital of the nation. Gambling employs more than 12,000 Minnesotans, funnels money to hundreds of charities, and provides entertainment at nearly 3,000 bars, fraternal halls and restaurants in every corner of the state.

But donations to charities have plunged to their lowest levels since 1986. About $32 million, or 3 percent of gross gambling revenues, went to charities in fiscal year 2010, according to a Gambling Control Board analysis this month. That means hundreds of Minnesota groups, such as Boy Scouts, softball teams and food shelves, are receiving smaller or no donations from gambling proceeds.

A second article is titled The trade-off in charitable gambling (premium access also required):

Hundreds of VFWs, American Legions and other groups have come to rely on their charitable gambling revenues to keep their doors open.

A third article (access is open to all) titled How much money goes to charity? has a:

… list of the more than 1,200 organizations that operate charitable gambling in Minnesota, which has been a $1 billion per year industry. They range from VFWs to fire department associations to youth athletic clubs. To sort by city or another column, click on the arrows inside each column head. The column titled "Other Lawful Purpose" refers primarily to property taxes and some building repairs that American Legions, VFWs and other fraternal groups can pay for using gambling profits.

The figures were released this month by the Minnesota Gambling Control Board and cover fiscal year 2010, which is July 1, 2009 to June 30, 2010. This is not data for the 2010 calendar year.

I put together this screenshot of the data for the Northfield groups. Click to enlarge:

Northfield charitable gambling 2010

So let’s crowdsource the analysis of this data. 

Which Northfield area organizations are doing well, i.e., giving a high/decent/respectable percentage of their charitable gambling proceeds to community needs and spending less on their operations?

And which, if any, are doing poorly?

Photo album: Memorial Day 2010

Gorgeous weather and a large crowd blessed this morning’s Memorial Day ceremony at the Northfield Area Veterans Memorial in Riverside Park.

Rob Hardy has a summary of the Memorial Day proceedings in this blog post, including the names of area veterans who died in the past year.

Northfield News Publisher Sam Gett has a 2-minute video clip of the ceremony posted; reporter David Henke has posted an album of 11 photos.

See my album of 100+ photos, the large slideshow, or this small slideshow:

Photo album: Memorial Day 2009

Gorgeous weather graced this morning’s Memorial Day ceremony at Northfield Area Veterans Memorial in Riverside Park.

See the album of 95 photos, the large slideshow, or this small slideshow:

The other Veterans Memorial in Northfield

Old Memorial Park Old Memorial Park

While taking photos of the outdoor pool’s climbing wall last week, I noticed the commemorative plaque and flag pole for what’s now called Old Memorial Park. The plaque  reads:

On October 1, 1948, this memorial recreation field was dedicated as a living memorial to the brave men and women who gave their lives in defense of our country. It was donated to the Northfield School District #659 from the Northfield American Legion Post #84.

This flag pole is placed in the year 2007, in memory of all men and women who served their country in war and peace time since World War I.

The park area, where the Northfield High School football field used to be, is now owned by the City of Northfield. The Northfield Area Veterans Memorial is in Riverside Park.

Photo album: Memorial Day tribute 2008

‘Twas a good turnout this morning for the Memorial Day tribute at the Northfield Area Veterans Memorial.

See the album of 8 dozen photos or this slideshow:

A well-kept secret? Memorial Day tribute at Veteran’s Memorial Park, 9 am today

It’s not listed on the calendar or blog, nor on the Northfield Area Veterans website, nor on the Northfield Chamber of Commerce calendar, nor via a search of the Northfield News website, nor is there a poster or flyer of any kind on the windows of either the VFW Post on Division nor the Eagles / American Legion Club on Water.

But today’s Memorial Day tribute is at 9 am in Veteran’s Memorial Park, at the south end of Riverside Park.

I eventually found the time on page 2 of the print edition Saturday’s Nfld News, in the calendar of events sidebar. It’s incorrectly listed as 8 am in the newspaper’s online calendar of events for May 26.

Why is there no promotion of this event?

See the album of 71 photos from 2007 or this slideshow:

Udpate 3 pm:  Below are photos of the two pages from Saturday’s Northfield News containing information about today’s ceremony:

Northfield News  page 2 Northfield News  back page

VFW’s department of redundancy department


The Northfield VFW and the Northfield Legion took out this full page ad in this weekend’s edition of the Northfield News for tomorrow’s Memorial Day celebration at Veteran’s Memorial Park. I plan to be there taking photos tomorrow.

I found their list of wars for the “placing of the wreaths” ceremony to be a bit odd.

From the Revolutionary War through the Persian Gulf War, no problem, though some vets of the Cold War have been lobbying to have that included. But the last two wars listed are labeled:

  • War on Terrorism
  • Operation Enduring Freedom

IMG_2236.JPGThe Wikipedia defines Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) as the government’s official name for all post-9/11 action, though they indicate that OEF most commonly means the war in Afghanistan. This Dept of Defense web page equates ‘Operation Enduring Freedom’ with the ‘war against terrorism.’

So are the VFW and Legion trying to communicate something with this wording strategy or is it a typo? And why not use the commonly-used ‘Iraq War’ or the ‘War in Iraq’ or just ‘Iraq’ like it’s listed on the ‘Major Wars and Conflicts’ granite marker at the site (right photo)?


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