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'A real tradition': Veterans Day honored in Dickinson

Dale Thompson and 11-year-old Aiden Rothstein ready to retire an American flag no longer fit for service in a ceremony in Dickinson on Saturday afternoon. (Iain Woessner/The Dickinson Press)1 / 2
Brian Benesh read aloud the names of those still considered Missing in Action from North Dakota during Saturday's Veteran's Day Ceremony at Dickinson State University. (Iain Woessner, The Dickinson Press)2 / 2

Veterans Day saw Dickinson State University's Beck Auditorium packed with men, women and children—a grateful community honoring the sacrifices and service of military personnel.

"Military service is a real tradition here in North Dakota," said Dr. Rich Brauhn, master of ceremonies for Saturday's annual Veterans Day ceremony at DSU. "North Dakota has over 46,000 veterans."

The Prairie Rose Chorus broke up a string of talks and commemorations from area veterans, such as Brauhn and Andrew Rohwedder, an industrial education teacher at Richardton-Taylor High School and a U.S. Navy veteran who served on the U.S.S. Sacramento from 1970-1972. In his address, Rohwedder spoke about his family's long history of military service.

Hundreds of American flags taken out of active service and brought to Dickinson from across the state were retired after the event. Uniformed members of the American Legion and the Boy Scouts retired the flags in DSU's Research Extension Center's parkland, laying them on a wood fire and setting them alight one by one.

"The tradition is to retire the flags that are out of service," said Dale Thompson of American Legion Post 3. "The ceremony was developed for us. Instead of people throwing them away, we have dignity and honor in the retirement of the flag."

While officials initially expected upwards of 6,000 flags to be retired on Saturday, there were far fewer, though still enough to fill over a dozen boxes.

A small crowd came out to watch, some saluting as smoke rose toward the sky.

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