April 13

Memorial spires at Memorial Bridge, Bismarck

I’m proud of the honor that Bismarck shows to veterans who have served the country, some paying the ultimate sacrifice.  At both ends of Memorial Bridge stands a plaza with flags, plaques and the 11 spires signifying Armistice Day, all facing the center where the flags are displayed.  Memorial Bridge, built in 1922 as  a  final connection on the transcontinental Red Highway, which later became Highway 10 and was replaced then by I-94.    The old bridge was replaced in 2008 with a newer more modern span.  You can see photos of it here on North Dakota 365, back in January.  The new bridge, dedicated to veterans has five piers, each with an overlook dedicated to 5 branches of the military.

Memorial to those killed in the GWOT

Nearby is the historic and still operating Fraine Barracks, home of the North Dakota National Guard.  Just outside of Fraine Barracks is a tribute to the men who have been killed in the line of duty while serving in Iraq.   Any time you pass through Bismarck, and are headed across the Memorial Bridge, you can pause one block north of the east end and pay your respects to those who died for your freedom in response to the attacks on America that culminated with the World Trade Center attack.

March 26

It took too long, but finally a group of men and women who did the right thing by serving their country, fighting for freedom were finally recognized. Vietnam vets have not gotten the welcome home that they deserved. They didn’t start that crazy Asian war, but they fought it because they were assigned that duty.  They came home to an ugly homecoming.

The State of North Dakota, thanks to the legislature, set aside this date to recognize and honor those men and women who deserved it, Vietnam vets. Many are my friends and neighbors. They are dads, grandfathers, businessmen, farmers.  Many don’t tell you their story until they feel comfortable with you.

I shoot as many Patriot Guard Rider events as I can, as many events that honor veterans, as many military support functions as I can, and this was one I was not going to miss.

Welcome home, brothers.