6th Annual Military Appreciation Road March - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

6th Annual Military Appreciation Road March

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(nat) "The military was his passion. That's what they want to do and they do it very proudly. They died doing what they loved."

When these families heard the news that they had lost their sons in the war, their lives changed forever.

Six years ago, a group of soldiers from the 188th unit started the annual military appreciation road march.

The march begins every year with a remembrance ceremony at 9:38am. This is the exact time Joyce and Sheila's sons were killed in action on June 6 of 2006.

"We want to honor all of our soldiers - the ones that are serving, have served, and the ones that we have lost," says Joyce Mehrer, Mother of Curtis Mehrer.

The nine mile walk begins at the Global War On Terrorism Memorial and ends at the North Dakota Veterans Cemetery.

Families of the fallen soldiers take part in this growing event every year.

"The 188th, it's like we're just a big family. The guys, when we see them, we're so happy to see them because we know that they were the last ones to be with our sons and when we look at them it's like we see our sons in them," says Harriet Goodiron, Mother of Nathan Goodiron.

Standup: "Families of the four men who lost their lives overseas have become a support group for each other and will forever share a lifelong bond."

"We've become you could almost say sisters," says Joyce.

Gold star mothers--who as of December--now have more military families to support in their group.

"I actually went to D.C. with a lot of the families and was there with Sheila and her family and got really close with them and they're such wonderful people. It's nice to have people going through the same thing," says Kristy Orgaard, brother died in Afghanistan Dec. 2012.

The brave sons of all of these families may be gone.

But they will certainly never be forgotten.

For every 10,000 citizens in North Dakota, 65 serve in the North Dakota National Guard, a rate that's more than four times the national average.

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