North Dakota celebrates Memorial Day virtually due to COVID-19


Pandemic or not… the state still wanted to make sure we honor the men and women who have fought for our country and paid the ultimate sacrifice. However, they had to do it a little differently this year.

Reporter Aaron Fields went to the North Dakota Veteran’s Cemetery, where a hand full of people still gathered to celebrate.

Maj. Gen. Al Dohrmann ended his speech with Luke Comb lyrics, “Even though I am leaving, I’m not going nowhere. These lyrics very simply remind us all that why the physical being might not be with us we continue to carry them in our hearts.”

Like every Memorial Day our communities, state leaders, and veterans all come together. This year there were fewer than usual because of COVID-19, but state leaders agreed it was important still reflect on our heroes.

Governor Doug Burgum, Senator Kevin Cramer, and Major General Al Dohrmann all gave speeches. Their keynote speaker being former North Dakota National Guard officer Maj. Arnie Strebe, who gave a very powerful and emotional tribute.

Maj. Arnie Strebe says, “This is a day of remembrance right even with the coronavirus. Those members that gave their lives for their country still need to be remembered. It’s a special day that unfortunately, the coronavirus changed it a little bit, maybe caused us to pivot to the left or pivot to the right, but it was the right thing to do though.”

The celebration didn’t stop there… The Viet Nam Vets/Legacy Vets Motorcycle Club still did their annual memorial day honor ride, but again, this was also a little different.

Local biker clubs usually come together and ride to the Veteran’s Cemetary, but this year they had to stay away because of social distancing, but were allowed to enter afterward and got to do a group ride down Main Street.

The Viet Nam Vets/Legacy Vets Motorcycle Club member Butch Olson says, “You know honoring the fallen and all the brothers that have served in the military and all the ladies it means a lot to us. We have been going to this cemetery for over 20 years.”

Olson tells KX News rain or shine, coronavirus or not… they will always do something to celebrate.

“Have a beer or a soda and at 3 have toast to all veterans… GOD BLESS AMERICA,” adds Olson.

The ceremony at the North Dakota Veteran’s Cemetary was live-streamed. They had more than 3-thousand views including 50 from overseas.

You can watch the full ceremony by clicking here.

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