Fifth- and sixth-grade students from Killdeer School took a field trip on Nov. 10 to learn about the Dunn County Veterans Memorial at the High Plains Cultural Center. The children also learned about the importance of Veterans Day. (Photo by Bryan Gallegos)
Dunn County Herald
Old Glory and other flags were flopping in the slight breeze on the clear and warm afternoon as 59 Killdeer School fifth- and sixth-graders gathered around the Dunn County Veterans Memorial on Nov. 10.
They looked with curious eyes at the massive memorial that had rows and rows of names and emblems of all the military branches chiseled into the smooth surface on the monument that stood outside the High Plains Cultural Center.
Some knew about the monument and stood with pride while others soaked in the information from a quick field trip to see a symbol of freedom, honor and respect and to understand the importance of Veterans Day, which was Nov. 11.
Members from the American Legion and Auxiliary talked to the students about the history and the significance of the monument. It is a deserving tribute to those who wrote a blank check to payable to the United States of America proudly serve for the very freedoms that this country enjoys.
The names on the monument are of those from Dunn County who have served or are currently serving in the military – Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard.
Russ Bandle, a veteran of the U.S. Navy, saw the school children around the monument as he was driving by the center. He turned around to chat with the kids about what the monument means to him.
Bandle’s name is on the monument. So is the names of his father and brother, grandfather, a great uncle and four uncles.
“This means a lot to my family,” he said.
A couple kids thanked Bandle for his service, greeting the Vet with a warm smile and a sincere handshake.
Bandle smiled and his eyes welled up. He sighed, a happy sigh.
“That sure is something,” Bandle quietly said.
Ian Dukart also felt a closeness to the wall as he listened to the presentation. Dukart felt a warm feeling and it had nothing to do with the sunshine beaming on his face. He was standing a few feet from his great uncle’s name, Tom Dukart.
“This shows honor and respect to our men and women who served for our country,” Dukart said. “I have a great uncle on that wall. Maybe I will be in their shoes one day.”
The importance of the monument and its meaning also left a lasting mark on 11-year-old Ainsley Hayden.
“It shows a lot of honor to people. It’s important because they risked their lives for us and they deserve that honor,” she said. “They had their own futures ahead of the go out and risk it all for our futures, it’s important that we honor them.”