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Park High School flag vigil, service commemorate Veterans Day

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education Cottage Grove, 55016
Cottage Grove Minnesota 7584 80th Street South 55016

Park High School student Tyler Cheslog planned to be awake at 3 a.m. Friday -- and marching outside.

Cheslog and 23 of his fellow Air Force Junior ROTC members chose to commemorate Veterans Day by conducting a 24-hour vigil at the flag pole in front of the school building on 80th Street.

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The students were inspired by the soldiers who guard the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery and thought a local vigil would be a good way to honor military veterans, said Kathy Roby, the school's Air Force Junior ROTC instructor.

The students earlier this week developed a march routine for the vigil and rehearsed how they will enter and exit the vigil at the one-hour shift changes.

They wore formal ROTC uniforms and dressed for the chilly weather.

The students were "at attention" during the vigil, so did not talk during their vigil.

The vigil started promptly at 5 p.m. Thursday as Park student Dakota Holman, a cadet 1st lieutenant, marched silently to the flagpole, paused, moved his rifle from one shoulder to the other and marched down the sidewalk before turning around and repeating the procedure for an hour.

"They're so excited about doing it because this is going to be something they'll remember for the rest of their lives," Roby said. The school has never had a similar vigil, she said.

Park's Veterans Day commemoration continued Friday morning with a program inside the school.

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