Memorial Day is a profound day of reflection and gratitude, dedicated to honoring the men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to the United States. It serves as a reminder of the courage and dedication of the military personnel who have laid down their lives to protect the freedoms and values cherished by the nation. Beyond its function as a federal holiday and a time for family gatherings, Memorial Day is a solemn occasion that underscores the cost of liberty and the enduring legacy of those who fought for it.

At 11:00 AM on Monday, May 27, the annual Memorial Day program began at Dickinson State University’s May Hall with opening remarks from the master of ceremonies Dr. Rich Brauhn, Vice Commander Legion Post #3, a former Vice-president of Dickinson State University, and a Vietnam War veteran.

Brauhn announced the Advance of Colors by the American Legion Honor Guard. He noted that Memorial Day, while a federal holiday, is primarily a day of remembrance and respect for those who have fallen. The numbers Brauhn quoted are stark: 1,194,554 Americans sacrificed their lives defending our country, including 2,596 from North Dakota.

Following the poignant opening, guest speaker, Truman Hamburger, Specialist Fourth Class, North Dakota National Guard, reflected on the history of Memorial Day. He noted that Memorial Day, originally known as Decoration Day, was first observed on May 30, 1868, when General John A. Logan, leader of an organization for Northern Civil War veterans, called for a nationwide day of remembrance for those who died in the conflict. The date was chosen because it didn’t coincide with the anniversary of any particular battle and was a day when the best spring flowers were on display.

Hamburger reminded the community of the ongoing struggles faced by military families and that Memorial Day is an important part of the grieving process for families left behind. He listed three ways to honor the fallen: decorating their graves, wearing a poppy, and sharing their stories.

To view the program photos, please visit