Minot ceremony honors sacrifices
On a cloudy, cool morning facing a sea of flags, a crowd gathered Monday in Rosehill Memorial Cemetery in Minot to remember the nation’s soldiers and sailors who died in service to their country.
Guest speaker Maj. Trygve Hammer, retired from the U.S. Marine Corps, said if those Americans fallen in war could get that final gift of communication before their deaths, their final thoughts would be of the people important in their lives.
“And there is an important lesson in that. Maybe they would tell us how all of our petty individual differences go away when we run or ride or sail together into battle,” said Hammer, of Velva. “Maybe they would tell us all to stop pecking on our phones and start paying attention to each other. Maybe they would tell us to stop shouting past one another and start having real conversations. Or maybe they would ask us to remember that we never know which conversation with a loved one will be our last.
“Unfortunately, the veterans we have lost cannot call us. So we gather here today to make that call to them, that call to say, ‘We miss you. We love you. You meant so much and we appreciate all that you have done for us,'” he said.
Hammer told about his teenaged daughter, calling him from Hawaii after a civil defense warning went out about a ballistic missile headed toward the island state in 2018.
“It can’t be true,” he recalled reassuring her.
“It couldn’t be true, because so many had served and sacrificed everything in the hope that theirs might be the last generation of Americans to know the devastation of war. I explained to my daughter that it could not be true, because the whole world knew the consequences of such an attack upon the United States. Those we honor here today had shown them,” Hammer said.
“There is no doubt that had that missile alert not been a false alarm, if even a failed nuclear missile had been launched at Hawaii, it would have marked the end of that paranoid dictator’s regime. Americans like those who have gone before us, Americans like those with whom many of us have served, and Americans like my own son and son-in-law, who were then serving on warships in the Pacific, would have responded and that missile launch, it would now be considered history’s most ill-conceived surprise attack on the Hawaiian Islands,” he said.
The annual Memorial Day ceremony, conducted by master of ceremony Lowell Cormier, included the reading of the poem “Garden of Stone” by Berkley Lundeen of Bishop Ryan High School, wreath placement by Tech. Sgt. Giancarlo Del Valle and Airman First Class Anna Grace of the 5th Security Forces Squadron at Minot Air Force Base, a rifle salute and Taps.