E.J. Ruegemer

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As a district judge, this Stearns County native spearheaded a movement in conjunction with the FOE (Fraternal Order of Eagles) to place Ten Commandments plaques and posters in various public institutions. The project began in Minnesota, and went nationwide two years later. The idea for this project came from a case the juvenile judge was presiding over, involving a juvenile from a broken home that was unschooled in the Ten Commandments. The idea was furthered to the placement of granite monoliths when Cecil B. DeMille became interested in the movement during the time of his filming and release of the Ten Commandments movie. He contacted and worked with Judge Ruegemer, and the rest as they say, is history.

As of late, of course, there has been much controversy about the placement of these posters, plaques, and granite monuments. Judge Ruegemer passed away last January 2005, but always maintained that if the courts ruled for removal of the monuments, then the law should be followed. There is much information about Judge Ruegemer's activities related to the Ten Commandments and his other community involvement on file at the Stearns County History Museum. I believe Judge Ruegemer's story is one that tells of the huge impact one person can have on society if they just light a candle and lead the way.
~Susan Thomes, Silver Lake, MN


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