Memorial Day ceremony honors fallen

Charles Crane/MDN Col. Benjamin D. Jensen, deputy commander of the 5th Bomb Wing at Minot Air Force Base, delivers an address during the Memorial Day program at Rosehill Memorial Park in Minot on Monday.

Dozens of citizens congregated on Monday morning for the Memorial Day program at Minot’s Rosehill Memorial Park’s Veterans’ Section.

After a procession of flag-waving members of local motorcycle clubs, Col. Benjamin D. Jensen, deputy commander of the 5th Bomb Wing at Minot Air Force Base, delivered the address.

Jensen called attention to the thousands of fallen service members throughout the nation’s history and the task everyone shares in remembering and honoring their sacrifices.

“In July 1918, months before the end of World War I, thousands of citizens gathered in Minot to pay tribute to 128 Ward County men departing for their Army service. Some of these men never returned home,” Jensen said. “Today we honor those who did not return, not just from the Civil War or World War I, but all conflicts and wars since that time.”

Jensen spoke of several notable fallen service members from Minot, including: Patternmaker Petty Officer 3rd Class Eddy Warren Fuller, who died in captivity in a Japanese prisoner of war camp in World War II; Pvt. Ben Brand, who died in action in World War I; and 1st Lt. John Morris Joyce, who served and died in the Vietnam War.

Jensen also saluted troops who perished on the beaches of Normandy during D-Day, as well as those who died on the homefront, such as Capt. William Richardson, Airman 1st Class Johnathan Drake, Senior Airman Ivan Campos and Master Sgt. Nicholas Van Pelt.

“No doubt that many of you, if not all, know someone, be it a friend, loved one, family or acquaintance who have died in the service of our country. The memory of several of my friends and acquaintances fill my heart with gratitude for their lives and their service. They also lost their lives abroad and on the homefront in defense of our freedoms and the freedoms of national partners,” Jensen said, “We see their names carved in stone, reflect on the stories of their brave lives passed down through generations, and see their faces in the sons, daughters and grandchildren who carry on their legacies today. They carry on, understanding that their loved one chose a life of service and that their loved one understood that death is a potential sacrifice for the sake of freedom.”

Jensen said Americans carry a heavy burden to remember those who have fallen in the service of defending our nation’s liberties. Jensen encouraged those in attendance to honor fallen soldiers every day and remain good stewards of the gifts paid for with their lives. He then shared and compared the oath taken by immigrants to the United States to the one taken by military members.

“When the immigrants take this oath, they do so as part of the citizenship ceremony. It is more than a mere formality. It is a public affirmation of allegiance and a crucial act highlighting the transition from immigrant to citizen,” Jensen said. “My friends, remembering those who have fallen is critical to our future and our freedom. The challenge is to take the invitation to live as they lived. Constantly fuel your zeal for freedom so that our nation may remain free. Support and defend the Constitution with the same commitment that those who died gave for our freedoms. They truly deserve our very best.”

The ceremony concluded with the placement of a wreath in the Veterans’ Section by VFW Auxiliary President Scott Paulson, a rifle salute and a rendition of “Taps” by Wayne Schempp and John Witteman. The opening and closing prayers were delivered by Jeff Emmert with Minot Church of Christ.


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