American Legion and American Legion Auxiliary

Henry M. Guttormson, Post #40

103 Elmwood, PO Box 285
Lanesboro, MN  55949
(507) 467-3440


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Check the Calendar and Announcements for upcoming event and information.

The Helpful Links page has been redesigned and additional links are being added to better assist our veterans and families.

Enjoy MNHS Events about World War I sponsored by Historic Fort Snelling and the Minnesota History Center.




Thursday, September 21, 2017

6:30 PM - 9:00 PM



In 2013, lifelong Lanesboro resident & WWII veteran Orval Amdahl was able to reunite a handcrafted samurai sword, taken in Nagasaki with U.S. permission as a war trophy, to the grandson of the Japanese soldier who originally owned it. Showing the sword to author Caren Stelson, who was researching firsthand information on Nagasaki after the war for her book “Sachiko,” Orval told her, “I want to give this back in peace, with honor.”


For 67 years, Amdahl cared for and oiled the sword tenderly, thinking of how on earth he would be able to return it to the family. Along with the sword, he kept the surrender tag. On the tag were Japanese characters that, once interpreted, was revealed to be the name and address of the man to whom it belonged. Further digging showed the man’s family, the Motomuras, still lived in the exact house and place.


On Saturday, September 21, 2013, Orval Amdahl presented the samurai sword to Mr. Tadahiro Motomura of Nagasaki, the son of the original owner of the samurai sword in a ceremony in St. Paul. As the oldest living male descendant of the Motomura family, Tadahiro was slated to be the keeper of the sword. The Japanese man immediately recognized it. “He said, ‘I recognize my father’s handwriting.’ The sword is now on the family altar in his home,” Stelson said. Orval said he that handing over the sword give him a good feeling and would maybe lead to “more peace in this world instead of the mistrust and fighting all the time.”


While the sword was indeed very special, it wasn’t just the sword that made the story unique and attract attention on an international scale. It was the symbolism of reconciliation it had for the world — the story of peace between two nations, peoples, and former enemies. The “In Peace, With Honor” series of programs and this “Return of the Sword” event will be the first opportunity to more broadly & deeply tell that story in the Lanesboro area with a public presentation and discussion panel including members of the Amdahl family at the St. Mane Theatre on September 21, the International Day of Peace


This event is also the opening reception for ‘Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard’ art exhibit & ‘From War to Reconciliation’ historical exhibit. 


Q&A + Discussion following the presentation with Caren Stelson and members of the Amdahl family


St Mane Theater

208 Parkway Ave N, Lanesboro, MN

Contact Adam Wiltgen at








Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery - Preston

715 Highway 52

Preston, MN 55965

Phone: 507-765-7320


The Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery - Preston is the second State Veterans Cemetery. Dedication was Memorial Day, 2016. the first veterans were laid to rest on Veteran's Day, November 11, 2015  Click here for details and eligibility.



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    WASHINGTON – National Commander Charles E. Schmidt of The American Legion expressed extreme disappointment in the Trump administration’s 2018 budget for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

    “The administration’s budget for the VA would effectively lower the earnings of our most vulnerable veterans by reducing or eliminating disability payments from veterans who are the most in need,” Schmidt said. “This is absolutely unacceptable to us.”

    The budget would stop higher disability payments to veterans once they become minimally eligible for Social Security. Veterans currently enrolled in the Individual Unemployability program, which is available to those who cannot work and receive the maximum disability compensation from VA, will see their benefits slashed by nearly two-thirds in some instances.

    Another disturbing provision caps working age unemployability at age 62. Schmidt pointed out that many members of Congress continue to work past 70. “This plan breaks faith with veterans,” Schmidt added. “Moreover, it’s an assault on TRICARE benefits, which were earned by veterans who spent decades of their lives serving and defending the Constitution of the United States. We are also alarmed by the cannibalization of services needed for the Choice program. It is a ‘stealth’ privatization attempt which The American Legion fully opposes. Choice should not be advanced to the detriment of cost of living increases for veterans. We hope all veterans, families and supporters of veterans call their elected officials and tell them that they can do better than this misguided plan. Our veterans deserve no less.”

    With a current membership of 2.2 million wartime veterans, The American Legion,, was founded in 1919 on the four pillars of a strong national security, veterans affairs, Americanism, and youth programs. Legionnaires work for the betterment of their communities through more than 13,000 posts across the nation.


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One man’s souvenir, another man’s heirloom . . .


Orval and Marie Amdahl of Lanesboro, MN enjoyed watching PBS's Antiques Roadshow and the intriguing stories of forgotten heirlooms and priceless treasures discovered in attics and closets. The Amdahl's haven't been on the show, but they did have a treasure of their own that is just as unique and even more meaningful on an international level. Orval had a sword sitting in his closet for 68 years.


Every time he took it out to oil, he would see its leather-covered wooden scabbard. As Orval had been oiling the samurai sword over the past 68 years, he probably never realized he’d be caring for his World War II souvenir in preparation to present it to another man as a cherished family heirloom.


On Saturday, September 21, 2013, at the Como Park Zoo and Conservatory Visitor Center in St. Paul in an event appropriately named “Return of the Sword Ceremony,” Orval Amdahl presented the samurai sword to Mr. Tadahiro Motomura of Nagasaki, the son of the original owner of the samurai sword. As the oldest living male descendant of the Motomura family, Tadahiro was slated to be the keeper of the sword.


Quietly, he and Marie returned home without the sword, which has been returned to Japan for good. No longer will he need to oil the razor-sharp blade. He reflected, a connecting piece to his days in the Pacific was gone, yet in its place was left an even stronger connection: a more human one. "It's going back to the rightful owner."


The story of the sword could not have started without a man receiving it while serving his country. The story of the sword continues and throughout the future generations, a family will sit down and start telling it, from the beginning. Click here for the complete story


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‘Of all the military bugle calls, none is so easily recognized or more apt to render emotion than Taps. Up to the Civil War, the traditional call at day's end was a tune, borrowed from the French, called Lights Out. In July of 1862, in the aftermath of the bloody Seven Days battles, hard on the loss of 600 men and wounded himself, Union General Daniel Adams Butterfield called the brigade bugler to his tent. He thought "Lights Out" was too formal and he wished to honor his men.


Oliver Wilcox Norton, the bugler, tells the story, "...showing me some notes on a staff written in pencil on the back of an envelope, (he) asked me to sound them on my bugle. I did this several times, playing the music as written. He changed it somewhat, lengthening some notes and shortening others, but retaining the melody as he first gave it to me. After getting it to his satisfaction, he directed me to sound that call for Taps thereafter in place of the regulation call. The music was beautiful on that still summer night and was heard far beyond the limits of our Brigade. The next day I was visited by several buglers from neighboring Brigades, asking for copies of the music which I gladly furnished. The call was gradually taken up through the Army of the Potomac."


This more emotive and powerful Taps was soon adopted throughout the military. In 1874 It was officially recognized by the U.S. Army. It became standard at military funeral ceremonies in 1891. There is something singularly beautiful and appropriate in the music of this wonderful call. Its strains are melancholy, yet full of rest and peace. Its echoes linger in the heart long after its tones have ceased to vibrate in the air.


 The origin of the word "Taps" is thought to have come from the Dutch word for "Tattoo"- "Taptoe." More than likely, "Taps" comes from the the three drum taps that were played as a signal for "Extinguish Lights" when a bugle was not used. As with many other customs, the twenty-four notes that comprise this solemn tradition began long ago and continue to this day.


While there are no official lyrics for Taps, the following unofficial verse (author unknown) is often used:



Fading light dims the sight,
And a star gems the sky, gleaming bright.
From afar drawing nigh -- Falls the night.

Day is done, gone the sun,
From the lake, from the hills, from the sky;
All is well, safely rest, God is nigh.

Then good night, peaceful night,
Till the light of the dawn shineth bright;
God is near, do not fear -- Friend, good night.

Composer: Daniel Butterfield


Above Information Courtesy of United States Army Center for Military History

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The National League of Families’ POW/MIA flag symbolizes the United States’ resolve to never forget POWs or those who served their country in conflicts and are still missing.


There are 1,741 American personnel listed by the Defense Department's POW/MIA Office as missing and unaccounted for from the Vietnam War, as of April 2009. The number of United States personnel accounted for since the end of the Vietnam War in 1975 is 841. About 90 percent of the 1,741 people still missing were lost in Vietnam or areas of Laos and Cambodia under Vietnam's wartime control, according to the National League of Families website (cited in the United States Army website).

Newt Heisley designed the flag. The flag’s design features a silhouette of a young man, which is based on Mr Heisley’s son, who was medically discharged from the military. As Mr Heisley looked at his returning son’s gaunt features, he imagined what life was for those behind barbed wire fences on foreign shores. He then sketched the profile of his son as the new flag's design was created in his mind.


The flag features a white disk bearing in black silhouette a man’s bust, a watch tower with a guard on patrol, and a strand of barbed wire. White letters “POW” and “MIA”, with a white five-pointed star in between, are typed above the disk. Below the disk is a black and white wreath above the motto “You Are Not Forgotten” written in white, capital letters.





The Missing Man Table, also known as the Fallen Comrade Table, is a semi-official place of honor in some dining facilities of the US armed forces in memory of fallen, missing in action, or prisoner of war military service-members. The table serves as the focal point of ceremonial remembrance, originally growing out of US concern of the Vietnam War POW/MIAs. Click here for the complete story.



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While visiting some cemeteries you may notice that headstones marking certain graves have coins on them, left by previous visitors to the grave.


These coins have distinct meanings when left on the headstones of those who gave their life while serving in America’s military, and these meanings vary depending on the denomination of coin.


A coin left on a headstone or at the grave site is meant as a message to the deceased soldier’s family that someone else has visited the grave to pay respect.  Leaving a penny at the grave means simply that you visited.

A nickel indicates that you and the deceased trained at boot camp together, while a dime means you served with him in some capacity.  By leaving a quarter at the grave, you are telling the family that you were with the soldier when he was killed.


According to tradition, the money left at graves in national cemeteries and state veterans cemeteries is eventually collected, and the funds are put toward maintaining the cemetery or paying burial costs for indigent veterans.


In the US, this practice became common during the Vietnam war, due to the political divide in the country over the war, leaving a coin was seen as a more practical way to communicate that you had visited the grave than contacting the soldier’s family, which could devolve into an uncomfortable argument over politics relating to the war.

Some Vietnam veterans would leave coins as a “down payment” to buy their fallen comrades a beer or play a hand of cards when they would finally be reunited.


The tradition of leaving coins on the headstones of military men and women can be traced to as far back as the Roman Empire.


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Updated 09/02/17

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Upstairs facilities available to anyone for meetings and/or parties.

  *You do not have to be a member to rent the facilities.

Meetings / Kitchen / Dining Hall only, no Bar - everything you need except the food and cooks $30

Entire upstairs with Bar and Bartender $50

Call 507-467-3440 during business hours for bookings.


American Legion Post #40

Henry M. Guttormson

103 Elmwood, PO Box 285
Lanesboro, MN  55949
(507) 467-3440


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