Remembering the fallen
BY ALYSSA MEIER
For the 135th year in a row, Washburn residents came together on Monday to honor and remember local veterans with spoken word, song and solemn silence.
The 135th Washburn Memorial Day Program began Monday with music from the school’s high school band, echoing through the Memorial Building as hundreds of residents filed into the building in an annual tradition.
“This is a sacred day,” Washburn American Legion Post 12 Commander Darrell High said in opening the program. “Men and women have died so that we can continue to cherish the things they love: God, country and family.”
Veterans and volunteers served in the color guard during the program, presenting the United States and North Dakota flags early on in the program. Washburn American Legion Auxiliary President Peggy Moran led the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance, and Pastor Rick Torkelson delivered the invocation.
Following the prayer, North Dakota senator Heidi Heitkamp addressed the crowd, delivering a message of patriotism and how small-town North Dakota “puts out the red carpet” for its servicemen and women.
Heitkamp, who is originally from Mantador, said her hometown would prepare for Memorial Day weeks in advance, crafting poppies, preparing meals and ensuring ceremonial guns fired and uniforms fit. She said communities like Washburn demonstrate a dedication to their veterans.