RYDER A memorial honoring military veterans in Ryder now carries nearly 600 names of veterans from that area.
More names were added to the wall of the L.C. Jensen American Legion Post 99's Ryder Veterans Memorial this summer. Two statues of soldiers who are "guarding" the memorial in the city park on Main Street also were added this summer.
About 60 names were added in July to the memorial that already had more than 500 names on it, said Daryl Simmons, post commander. The work was done by a Minnesota company.
Eloise Ogden/MDN --
Statues of soldiers were added to the Ryder Veterans Memorial in the community’s park on Main Street, shown in this photo taken Oct. 25. The statues, one of a Korean-era soldier and the other of a Vietnam-era soldier, are fitting for the monument because they portray soldiers on guard – or guarding the memorial.
There is still room for a few more names, which would go on the pillars of the memorial.
The memorial, a project of the local Legion post, was dedicated in 2006 during the city's centennial celebration. Ryder, a community in southwest Ward County, has about 90 people.
The names on the monument go back many years, including one who served in the Spanish-American War, Simmons said. He said most are from World War I, World War II, followed by the more recent war eras.
The Legion post carries the name of a World War I veteran, L.C. Jensen. The post was organized 90 years ago in the fall of 1919 and has existed ever since.
The memorial honors both those who are living as well as those who are no longer living," Simmons said. "It's everyone who was in the service."
Simmons said he got the idea for the statues when he traveled through Herreid, S.D., a couple years ago and saw its veterans wall with statues like the ones Ryder now has. "It looks like they (the soldier statues) are guarding it." he said. He didn't have a camera with him on that trip but on his next trip through there he brought along a camera and took photos of the statues, then brought the idea back to the Ryder American Legion post members.
Donations paid for the statues, which were made in Sioux Falls, S.D. The statues were ordered this spring and delivered just in time on a Monday just before the community's annual celebration held in mid-July.
"I wanted them in place for the celebration," Simmons said.
The concrete statues have a bronze coating.
"One is a Vietnam-era soldier and the other is a Korean-era soldier," Simmons said.
He said these particular statues are fitting for the monument because they portray soldiers with guns or guarding the memorial. They also represent many people whose names are on the memorial.
The cost of adding more names to the memorial was a Legion post and community project.
Since the statues have been added to the memorial site, Simmons said it has attracted many people. He said he's seen people drive by, apparently spot the statues and memorial, then stop and back up to take a better look.