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Remembering Past Enhances Present, Future

Krueger, Gerald "Jerry." "Remembering Past Enhances Present, Future." Aberdeen American News, 26 June 2006.


Celebrations are a time for fun for everyone. Our town's 125th birthday this summer has all the makings of a grand old time. A time of remembering and of measuring the progress of our population is always a pleasant event.

We will recall the influence that changes have had on us; how our friends and relatives who have gone before us touched our lives personally, and their contribution to making things better for us all. There will undoubtedly be many visits to area cemeteries to honor and remember so many who made this country, this area and especially this town, what it is today.

Taking time to look back and remember is a right of passage we oldsters have earned by our added years. We should never forget those who came before us and the influence their lives had on ours.

Mary Ann and I had a delightful time recently when a distant cousin and his wife took the time to come meet us, become friends and to recall those instances in the past when our lives touched.

It is humorous to note that sometimes it almost seems like there are parallel lives. Our newfound relatives, Doug and Debbie Kreuger from Chicago, have much in common with us. Doug's parents names are Gerald and Mary Kreuger. Doug and I share the same heritage - my grandmother is his great-grandmother, even if our surnames are spelled differently today.

We took Doug and Debbie on a tour of our common ancestors' birthplace, and, of course, to the cemetery where they are buried.

As we walked amongst the graves of this rural cemetery, we became aware of unmarked graves and neglected grave sites. Still other graves were marked with engraved headstones.

Very few people pay attention to many rural cemeteries scattered throughout the area. How sad. There are many great, fantastic people resting in those cemeteries who deserve better.

Mary Ann and I were heartened recently when we were contacted by former Eureka resident Duane Stabler. He has compiled a list - perhaps it should be referred to as a very large book - of every known grave in McPherson County. It is an all-inclusive book with background about each cemetery, narratives about communities and photos of each cemetery in McPherson County. The book even lists the cause of death, if known. It must have taken years to compile this very impressive publication.

As you read through the listings, you can't help but wonder where in the world Stabler got all of the energy and wherewithal to create the publication. This book will assist McPherson County families in always knowing where each family member is buried in the county.

We are thankful that people exist who make the effort to keep memories alive for the ages.

'Nuff said.

Gerald "Jerry" Krueger is a retired educator, coach, commercial pilot and farmer. He can be reached by writing the American News at P.O. Box 4430, Aberdeen, S.D. 57402, or by e-mail at americannews@aberdeennews.com. His column publishes most Mondays.

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