Though official Memorial Day observances have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Pelican Rapids is “dressed” for the occasion—thanks to new Pelican Motel owner Joe Clauson.

The row of flags will greet motorists on Highway 59 on the north side of town. Also, a row of lights for night illumination, were set up May 17 and will fly at least through Memorial Day, said Clauson.

The idea was inspired, in part, by a tradition in and near Victoria, Texas, where the Clausons lived for six years before returning to his hometown Pelican Rapids. Families and individuals would “sponsor” flags in honor of a veteran, and ceremonial activities would include taps at sundown. Victoria also hosted a “Warriors Weekend” for wounded veterans, and the Field of Honor would fly as many as 3,000 flags –and veterans would enjoy fishing trips in the nearby Gulf. Clauson is interested in a developing a similar tradition in the Pelican Rapids area.

With traditional Memorial Day observances cancelled, Mike Nettestad, a Pelican Legionnaire and longtime organizer, said that the public is encouraged to observe Memorial Day in their own way. Flying flags at half-mast, visiting and decorating gravesites, and any other appropriate manner.