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  • Writer's pictureRetha Mattern

Memorial Day

Updated: May 30, 2022

Our country would not be what it is without those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in service of our nation. This weekend we honor and remember those who gave their life so that we can enjoy the freedoms and liberties we have.

Just days after I began my career in Bismarck, our community lost Sgt. Travis Van Zoest and Cpl. Curtis Mehrer in Afghanistan. Later that summer I met and mourned with the family of Cpl. Nathan Goodiron of Mandaree, then a few years later with the family of Spc. Tyler Orgaard of Bismarck. I will never forget their names or their stories, and will be forever grateful to them and to the 10 other members of the North Dakota National Guard whom they served and died with as part of the Global War on Terrorism.

As someone who grew up in a military family, I am grateful to my grandfather and grandmother who both served in WWII, my father who served in Vietnam, and my brother who was deployed to Guantanamo Bay for their decades of service in the US Army and US Air Force. While I was fortunate to not suffer any direct loss to a family member, many others in the history of our nation were not, and I am forever mindful of that.

Our Lord, as we think this weekend of those who laid down their life for us, we ask you to bless their memories, bless their families, and bless our country these brave men and women died to protect. Amen.


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