Sons of Norway members remember

A Norwegian flag and an American flag are brought into the Sons of Norway annual memorial service.

Photo: Ester Hall
Sigrun Larsen and Solveig Simonsen Mcloughlin bring in the flags.

Victoria Hofmo
Brooklyn, N.Y.

On Sept. 27, the New York area Sons of Norway organizations held their annual Memorial Service at Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church in Brooklyn, an opportunity to remember members who were lost over the last year. The service included all of the third district’s zone one, covering Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Long Island. The lodges involved were Brooklyn, Faeder, Garborg, Henrik Ibsen, Lillehammer, Loyal, Norden, Norge, and Peconic.

It was a touching, meaningful service that began with an organ prelude and welcome from the President of Faeder Lodge, Lois Berseth Hedlund. This was followed by the Presentation of Colors. The Norwegian and American flags were carried by two lovely ladies in bunads, Sigrun Larsen and Solveig Simonsen Mcloughlin.

The guest speaker was Arlene Bakke Rutuelo, co-proprietor of Nordic Deli for 29 years and former 17th of May Parade Committee Chair. She read from the famous Ecclesiastes passage that speaks about a time for everything, such as “a time to be born and a time to die … a time to weep and a time to laugh … a time to mourn and a time to dance.” She spoke about those SON members who passed away and the Scandinavian business her family ran. She’d been surprised how upset people were upon the closing of the store last January. She realized that many had lost their parents and that Nordic Delicacies “kept those memories intact.”

The powerful voice of guest singer Corrine Hall was a highlight. She sang both “Amazing Grace” and “How Great Thou Art,” two iconic pieces. It is rare that you hear them sung in a new way, but this was one of those rare times.

The ceremony was followed by a spread of traditional Norwegian food that nourished the tummy and the soul, as it was made by the loving hands of SON members.

I asked long-time Faeder Lodge member Elsa Liebermann how long this memorial service has been held. She pondered: “I know the Memorial Services have been held in Brooklyn every year since I joined SON in 1969, so probably much longer.” Let’s hope this lovely tradition continues.

This article originally appeared in the Oct. 16, 2015, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly.

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The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.