Veterans Educational Historic Monument

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Yearly Archives: 2016

In remembrance of Mr. Howard Warnberg


We are deeply saddened by the loss of a sailor from the greatest generation: Chief Petty Officer Howard Warnberg. Howard is a key figure and supporter of the Vets Art Monument–where he modeled for the Navy painting as the Navy Chief. Howard was a gentlemen’s gentlemen, and prominent figure in the community of Little Falls. He served as a County Comissione and ran a successful flooring business. It was a great honor to have known him for 40 years, and I got to know his spirit well as he posed for his portrait in the studio. He leaves a wonderful legacy, and will truly be missed, however as the Navy Chief he stands watch at the Cemetery.

Marine Corps canvas stretched!

The long-awaited Marine Corps painting is stretched! One of my least favorite tasks, it’s made easier with help, in this case joined by Erik Sogge, who is the Cemetery Administrator and clearly willing to get his hands, and knees, dirty. Also joining was Val Pilarski. While there’s been work on the initial sketch ideas in my studio, the Marine Corps painting becomes “real” when it takes shape in the 8 X 10 foot canvas, which was stretched this week at the Maintenance Building at the Cemetery.

With thanks on Veterans Day

We take this opportunity to thank all the men and women of our Armed Services who have served, and are serving. Wherever you are in the world, we think of you today.

Marine Corps painting next up!

Thanks for your ongoing interest in the Monument. The Marine Corps is almost ready to get going, with the canvas needing to be stretched and prepped. As way of refresher, this shows the initial sketch. Some edits will occur, but the overall theme is depicted.


In Remembrance of Mr. Gordon Gerling

Dear Friends,

We are truly saddened by the loss of Mr. Gordon Gerling, Air Force Veteran and former state representative, who died on July 14th. It was through Gordon’s passion and commitment that the project came to life.  Gordon wanted something that portrayed how democracy has been preserved and protected, “something educational to help future generations understand our history and the role our military played in maintaining freedom and democracy.”

We hold his wife of 73 years, Bette, and his family in our thoughts and prayers. Gordon was a thoughtful, respectful and genuinely kind human being and we are grateful to have known him during his long life. He is already dearly missed.

Color sketch of Army painting

Mr. Gordon Gerling

Welcome to the Norwegian Home Guard!

For the third year in a row, Charles Kapsner has welcomed members of the Norwegian Reciprocal Troop Exchange to his studio. Shown here is Kapsner presenting Lt. Colonel Per Olav Vaagland with a giclee print of the US Army, the first painting completed for the Veterans Project. Kapsner is also joined by several members of the Norwegian Home Guard at the Committal Hall.

The exchange began in 1974 and is the longest-running military exchange partnership between any two nations. The yearly exchange promotes good will and sharpens military readiness between the nations as well as provides opportunities for cultural understanding among its participants.  The Norwegian Home Guard Soldiers are staying at Camp Ripley.

Kapsner is honored to host members of the Norwegian Home Guard, and will have Lt. Colonel Vaagland at his studio again this week to complete a drawing sketch of him. “It is a complete honor to engage with the intelligent, articulate and skilled members of the Home Guard. It’s the third year for me, last year Lt. Colonel Seland sat for me, and the year before it was Colonel Wold. This is a fantastic cultural exchange, given the great artistic heritage of Norway.”


Kapsner presenting Lt. Colonel Vaagland with a print of the US Army from the Project.

Kapsner presenting Lt. Colonel Vaagland with a print of the US Army from the Project.

Members of the Norwegian Home Guard at the Committal Hall

Members of the Norwegian Home Guard at the Committal Hall


Remembering Dr. Earl Potter

On behalf of the project team, the Minnesota State Veterans Memorial Association, and artist Charles Kapsner, we extend our heartfelt sympathy to the Potter family on the tragic loss of Dr. Earl Potter, III.

Dr. Potter was President of Saint Cloud State University, and he served in the U.S. Coast Guard from 1969 to 1993 and retired at the rank of captain. We are truly saddened by the loss of this wonderful man, committed Veteran, and champion of education. We hold his family in our thoughts.


                     Remembering Dr. Earl Potter, III



With thanks to all Veterans this Memorial weekend

This Memorial weekend, I am reminded of the great, and many, sacrifices of the men and women of all branches of the U.S. military. While the weekend is one that unofficially begins our Minnesota summer, its designation is a day on which those who died in active military service are remembered. The public is welcome to attend the memorial service at the Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery on Sunday, May 29th with music starting at 1:30, and the program at 2:00. And if you are not able to attend this service, I hope you are able to attend another of your choice.

With gratitude to all Veterans,

Charles Gilbert Kapsner

A Youthful, Generous Donation!

A generous donation was made during the dedication of the Coast Guard painting, and came via the efforts of Bryce Soltis, this year’s Minnesota American Legion Auxiliary Honorary Department Junior President. She started her term in the fall, and chose the Project as her fundraising project. Her enthusiasm, warmth, generosity and caring heart were on full display during the event, where she is shown, below, with Greg Zylka, Fundraising Committee Member and Mayor of Little Falls.  Bryce’s dad, Alan Soltis, and grandfather Billy Soltis are buried at the Cemetery, which made the project dear to her. Thanks to Bryce for her generous commitment, and to her and her family for attending. What a terrific young lady!

Greg Zylka, accepting a donation from Bryce Soltis, American Legion and Auxiliary Honorary Department Junior  President

Greg Zylka, accepting a donation from Bryce Soltis, American Legion and Auxiliary Honorary Department Junior President


Soltis Project Description

Incase you missed it! Video from Lakeland Public Television

Coast Guard installation