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AMERICANISM: It is Hope, It is Courage, It is Freedom, It is Exceptionalism

By Staff | May 21, 2015

Memorial Day is a tradition of honoring our brave men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice while protecting our country and the freedom we hold so dear. It is celebrated on the last Monday of May each year. Each year, this day is embraced not only as the symbolic start of summer, but as a day of somberness and commemoration of those who stood up to be counted and who have paid the ultimate price for doing so.

From the American Revolutionary to Operation Inherent Resolve there have been American casualties from sea to shining sea. Those casualties, including the still missing, have totaled over 1.4 million men and women. This staggering number should give every American citizen a reason to reflect. It is imperative, on this day, Memorial Day, that each and every American realize just how much these brave patriots sacrificed so we can bask in the shining light of freedom.

On Memorial Day you cannot help but to reflect on the men and women, past and present, who showed the strength, determination, and an uncommon amount of courage needed to defend this great land of ours. Throughout American history, members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines have faced life and death on countless battlefields, and on Memorial Day we honor those who gave their lives by doing so.

One of those brave soldiers was Rugby’s own Clarence A. Larson, Member of Company I, 18th Infantry, First Division. The Rugby American Legion Post was named in his memory, and is now known as the Clarence A. Larson American Legion Post 23 in honor of this fallen comrade of Rugby.

Clarence A. Larson, was the son of Mr. and Mrs. L. A. Larson of Rugby. Clarence was born at the Larson homestead near Tunbridge, N. D., on May 16, 1896. He enlisted on July 22, 1917, in Company D, First Infantry, North Dakota State Militia and went with his regiment to Camp Greene, South Carolina. At this place the North Dakota militia was sworn into Federal service and Clarence was transferred to Company I, 18th Infantry, which became a part of the First Division in France.

On the 30th day of January, 1918, during a raid upon the American trenches, Clarence was wounded. He died on the 9th day of March, 1918 from that wound. Lieutenant R. H. Blake, in a letter to Clarence’s parents, made the following comment, “He was one of the best soldiers and did his part bravely and I thought the world of your son. I was in command of the platoon that he was in and will say that your son, Private Clarence A. Larson is to be praised for the work he did and is a man and a true soldier.” Clarence is buried in the American St. Mihiel Cemetery, located at Thiacourt, Meurthe-et-Maselle, France.

As we remember Clarence and all those from Rugby who fought and died for this country, it is also important on this coming Memorial day to pay homage to all the U.S. service members, through the centuries, who have perished in the line of duty. We should also remember their family members who survive them because they too have suffered from the loss of a loved one.

In Rugby we can celebrate this day by attending the Clarence A. Larson American Legion Post 23 ceremony on Monday, May 25th, at 10:30 a.m. at the Memorial Hall. After the ceremony, the American Legion Auxiliary will be serving a chicken lunch prepared by Theresa Wangler.

As we remember those who fought for our ideals, and as Americanism beats proud and strong in our hearts, let us honor our fallen heroes so they shall they never be forgotten. On this day, as we should every day, let us take notice of the words of Teddy Roosevelt, who said, “Americanism is a question of principle, of purpose, of idealism, of character. It is not a matter of birthplace or creed or line of descent.” Happy Memorial Day to all and God Bless America.

Information about Clarence A. Larsen and his life were provided by Kirk Seaver and The Story of Pierce County War Memorial book.

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