Dinner Held for WWII Veterans of the 609th Tank Destroyer Battalion
September 22, 2011 - A dinner was held on September 15, 2011, for the WWII Veterans of the 609th Tank Destroyer Battalion at the All Nations Indian Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Veterans Gordon Bailey, Norbert Gerling, Joe Cotner, and Bud Helmen were in attendance.
As the Waukazo Drum Group sang the Honor Song, the Red Lake Honor Guard presented the colors. The WWII Veterans, all in their nineties, with their hands over their hearts, stood at attention, very tall and erect. These great Veterans know the meaning of honoring the Flag.
The 609th Tank Destroyer Battalion Veterans landed on Utah Beach in September 1944. They were involved in four major campaigns in Europe, Northern France, Rhineland, Ardenes-Alsace and Central Europe. At the Battle of the Bulge, one of the men said, "We do all the dirty work and the 101st Airborne gets all the honor." We did our best to honor them on September 15, 2011, sixty-six years after World War II.
We did honor them with a meal, which consisted of Red Lake walleye, buffalo, frybread, wild rice hot-dish, blueberry sauce, pistachio pudding, and homemade cookies.
We wish to thank the Red Lake Tribal Council for donating the walleye and wild rice. This was the first time some of our guests had ever tasted walleye. Their first walleye was the best walleye they could ever have because it was Red Lake walleye!
We wish to thank Art Owen for the donation of buffalo. The buffalo was very good and the most tender we have had.
We wish to thank the Waukazo Drum Group for the beautiful drumming and songs.
Thank you so much to the Red Lake Honor Guard (Robert Cook; Jim Loud, Johnny Barrett, and Earl Fairbanks) for driving down here and performing the most magnificent ceremony that we have ever seen. We appreciate that you came to the celebration and helped us honor all the Veterans in attendance.
Thank you Chairman Floyd Jourdain, Jr., for taking time out of your busy schedule to honor the Veterans. Thank you Representative Glenda Martin, who has a son who is a Veteran, and Representative Donald May for taking the time to join us in honoring the Veterans.
We wish to thank all the cooks who prepared the meal, the servers and all who helped us prepare the celebration. You are the best!
We especially want to thank the Veterans of the 609th Tank Destroyer Battalion for serving our Country and for the freedom we now have.
Murphy "Joe" Parkhurst
John "Ferdy" Hanson
Bette M. Bailey