CANNON BALL, N.D. (KXNET) — Earlier this year, Governor Doug Burgum approved the naming of several bridges after veterans and fallen soldiers, and one of them is now officially named after Albert Grass.
“He was a code talker,” explained Albert Grass’ great-nephew Travis Condon. “There were quite a few Indian people from Standing Rock during WWI who enlisted and were code talkers for the army for WWI, and Albert Grass was one of them.”
Sadly, Albert lost his life fighting in France — but not before he killed and injured 24 German soldiers in a machine gun nest —for which he earned a silver star.
“You know, on the train, hundreds of people followed his body on the train, and when his actual burial happened, there was thousands and thousands of people that came to honor him that day,” shared Condon.
Albert was the first from the Standing Rock Reservation to be killed in the war and died for our country before he was even considered a citizen. Now, he’s being honored with a bridge named after him.
“It’s really bittersweet to know this, that they’re celebrating my uncle that gave his life before citizenship,” said Albert’s niece Justine Two Lodge.
Two Lodge says she grew up surrounded by the memories of Albert.
“There were times when I was with my grandma when I knew she was going to go out late at night, go outside and cry for her son,” shared Two Lodge. “She made me this beautiful shawl in memory of veterans, I’m supposed to wear it when they honor veterans, so today I’m wearing my shawl in honor of all the veterans.”
Through this commemoration, Albert’s family got the chance to reminisce and share stories about his bravery.
“I’ve heard a lot of stories from my grandma about him — good stories, that he sacrificed his life,” said Albert’s relative Natalia Finley.
“I wish my mother could see this, she would be very honored and proud,” added Condon.
Two Lodge says though his death was tragic, Albert has brought the community together and that’s why they’re honoring him with the renaming of the cannonball bridge.
You can find the Private Albert Grass World War I Bridge on Highway 1806, just outside of Standing Rock Reservation.