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Members of the North Dakota National Guard's Funeral Honors stand at attention waiting for the order to fire the World War I-era French 75-millimeter cannon at the North Dakota Veterans Cemetery south of Mandan, North Dakota in support of the annual Memorial Day ceremony on May 30, 2016. (U.S. National Guard photo by Bill Prokopyk, North Dakota National Guard Public Affairs Office/Released)

MANDAN, N.D. — The 2018 Memorial Day Ceremony will begin at noon, Monday, May 28, at the North Dakota Veterans Cemetery, located 6.5 miles south of Mandan on North Dakota Highway 1806. This annual event, hosted by the North Dakota National Guard, honors all deceased American servicemen and women and is free to the public. This year's theme is "The Great War – 100 years Remembered". The theme commemorates 100 years since World War I was formally concluded with the signing of an armistice between the Allied and Central Powers. 

Participants should arrive early due to anticipated crowds and motorcycle convoy. Lawn chairs are encouraged as seating is limited. Due to the large attendance anticipated and limited parking near the ceremony area, handicap-marked vehicles are encouraged to arrive before 11 a.m. Shuttle vans marked with yellow flashing lights on top will be available to transport attendees from parking areas to the ceremony. Attendees are encouraged not to drive large vehicles, such as recreational vehicles, campers or tow trailers due to constrained parking. 

Individuals not attending the ceremony, but dropping off flowers for Memorial Day grave decorations, should plan to arrive by 10:00 a.m. 

This year's keynote speaker is Mr. Darrell Dorgan, who serves as the chairman of the North Dakota WWI Centennial Committee. The emcee is Staff Sgt. Eric W. Jensen, of the North Dakota National Guard's public affairs office in Bismarck. Their biographies are in the 2018 program

Scheduled to render welcoming remarks are Gov. Doug Burgum, Sen. John Hoeven, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, Rep. Kevin Cramer and Maj. Gen. Alan S. Dohrmann, N.D. National Guard adjutant general. 

Two UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters are scheduled to open the ceremony with a flyover. This aerial display, flown by Soldiers of the North Dakota National Guard, is a formal salute to the fallen military members at the cemetery.  

The North Dakota Army National Guard's Fargo-based 188th Army Band's "Brass Quintet" will perform "Amazing Grace" as well as pre-ceremony music. Also participating in the ceremony are local Veteran organizations and the Bismarck Mounted Police, who will feature a caparisoned riderless horse with boots reversed in the stirrups to symbolize a fallen warrior that can no longer ride into battle. 

The national anthem will be performed by Miss Shae Skager and Taps by Mr. Harrison Fuller. Bismarck's VFW Post 1326 will render a rifle salute volley while the North Dakota National Guard Military Funeral Honors Team execute a 21-gun cannon salute with a World War I-era French 75-millimeter cannon. Pastor Paul Schick, Trinity Lutheran Church in Bismarck and Chaplain (Capt.) Chad Gion, North Dakota National Guard and pastor at Spirit of Life in Mandan, will render Memorial Day prayers.  

Following WWI, thousands of "Liberty Trees" were planted across North Dakota. In recognition of this year's Memorial Day theme, North Dakota Forest Service, in conjunction the North Dakota WWI Centennial Committee, will give away 1,000 Meyer spruce seedlings at the end of the ceremony for families to take home and plant. 

Also in conjunction with Memorial Day, Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park is hosting a Military Appreciation Day by offering free admission to military members, veterans and their families. This state park is located adjacent to the Veterans cemetery. For additional information, please call 701-667-6340. 

In support of the Memorial Day ceremony at the North Dakota Veterans Cemetery, the Viet Nam Vets/Legacy Vets Motorcycle Club is organizing a Memorial Day Veterans Honor Run at "The Shop" (131 Airport Road) in Bismarck. Participants will leave Bismarck at 11 a.m., head west on Main Street, cross the Liberty Memorial Bridge to Mandan's Memorial Highway. After turning west on Mandan's 3rd Street SE, the motorcyclists will head south on North Dakota Highway 1806 until they reach the N.D. Veterans Cemetery. To participate in the run, please assemble between 10:00 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. All motorcyclists are invited to participate and no pre-coordination is required.  

The North Dakota Veterans Cemetery was established by an act of the 1989 North Dakota Legislative Assembly. The cemetery was opened July 1992, and is operated by the office of the North Dakota adjutant general.

 

WHAT: 2018 Memorial Day Ceremony – North Dakota Veterans Cemetery

WHEN: May 28, 2018, at noon

WHERE: North Dakota Veterans Cemetery, 6.5 miles south of Mandan, N.D., on Highway 1806

 

MEDIA: No pre-coordination required; Bill Prokopyk will be on site 701-220-7277

 

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The North Dakota National Guard is a trained and highly motivated force of about 4,000 Citizen-Soldiers and Citizen-Airmen.  We are always prepared to provide ready units, individuals and equipment in support of our communities, state and nation.  Always ready, always there.

 

Additional resources:

2018 Memorial Day program (pdf)

 

Photos of previous Memorial Day ceremonies:

Memorial Day 2017, Memorial Day 2016, Memorial Day 2015; Memorial Day 2014; Memorial Day 2013; Memorial Day 2012; Memorial Day 2011; and Memorial Day 2010

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