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Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - A long-awaited groundbreaking ceremony will take place this afternoon at Soldiers Field Memorial Park.

The public is invited to the event to celebrate the start of construction for the new Law Enforcement Memorial of Southeast Minnesota. The ceremony is scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m. at the site of the new Memorial near the intersection of Seventh Street and George Gibbs Drive Southwest.

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The long-planned memorial will honor the 33 fallen officers from City, County, State, Federal, and Military agencies that operate within the Sixth District of the Minnesota Sheriff's Association. The district includes Olmsted, Dodge, Mower, Wabasha, Winona, Fillmore, Houston, Goodhue, Steele, Rice, Waseca, and Le Sueur Counties.

A news release says the ceremony will include music by the Rochester Caledonian Pipe Band, a performance of the National Anthem by Olmsted County Deputy Tracy Pagel, and an address by Olmsted County Sheriff Kevin Torgerson who has been a strong proponent of the memorial project.

“Reaching this point of finally breaking ground for our Memorial is an amazing feeling,” said Kevin Torgerson, Olmsted County Sheriff and President of the Law Enforcement Memorial Foundation of Southeast Minnesota. “This truly has been a team effort and I want to thank the communities of Southeast Minnesota for helping make this a reality. The fundraising will never stop though because of the need to maintain it and unfortunately, likely add future names.”

Olmsted County photo

The actual construction of the new Memorial is scheduled to begin next Monday. It will include a wall with a variety of etched law enforcement-related images and a 15-foot pillar with blue lighting to accent the names of the fallen officers.

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