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SERVING OUR VETERANS: Memories of ND WWI veterans

By Staff | Nov 3, 2017

I would like to remind everyone there is a van available for transporting veterans to the VA Medical Center in Fargo. It leaves Minot the first and second Tuesday of every month. The pickup time in Rugby is 8:20 a.m. at the Cenex C-Store and arrival time at the Fargo VAMC is 12:30 p.m. The van picks up patients on Tuesday and returns on Wednesday at 4:00 p.m. So, please do not schedule second day appointments after 11:00 a.m. To reserve your seat on the van, call 701-857-6492. Veterans riding this van will be staying overnight at the Econolodge (voucher covers cost) or Days Inn (veterans pay $15.00) in Fargo. You will receive a voucher for the room. Please indicate preference and be sure to call when you get your appointment as seating is first come, first served and limited.

On Thursday, November 9 at 8:00 p.m., Prairie Public Television will air a two-hour documentary “Prairie Memories, The Vietnam War.” I have not seen it yet but have heard it is getting very good reviews.

By the time this is column is published, it will be one week prior to Veterans Day and 99 years after the armistice was signed ending WWI. As North Dakotans and residents of Pierce County, we should all be proud of the men and women who have served in our Armed Forces, including those from WWI.

Let us not forget about the military nurses who served in WWI. In 1934 and 1935, the Past Presidents’ Parley of the American Legion Auxiliary Department of North Dakota identified and interviewed the state’s 271 women who served during the Great War. Of that number, 225 were nurses. Red Cross statistics show that 20% of all North Dakota registered nurses served in Europe a greater percentage than any other state during the war.

In a small rural cemetery, a mile west of my home, stands a large granite tombstone. Inscribed in the granite is an American flag and the words:

Frithjoff Hagboe, Born Aug. 13, 1892, Died Oct. 6, 1918 At Camp Hancock, GA.

In reference to his death, these words were found in the October 10, 1918 addition of The Pierce County Tribune: “Three Pierce County homes have been saddened during the past week, by the death of sons in army camps in the east, all resulting from the epidemic of influenza that is raging all over the United States, and in other countries as well. They are Walter Severtson, son of Mr. and Mrs. Ed Severtson, of West Barton; Carl Nygard, son of Mr. and Mrs. Theo Nygard of Wolford; and Frithjoff Hagboe, son of Mr. and Mrs. Hagboe of East Barton. These young men have lain down their lives for the country just as much as though they had met death at the hands of the enemy on the battlefields in France, and their memory will be ever honored by the citizens of their home county and state, as well as by a grateful nation”.

These are eloquent words from 99 years ago. There is a message here. It is a reminder of the sacrifices made by local heroes. Let us not forget the sacrifices that have been made by veterans and their families, and are still being made today, so that we can live as free people in this great country we call the United States of America. From these two WWI memories, let us remember that whether our local veterans died on a battle field, or not, all men and women who have served have sacrificed in some way, to make our country free. These two stories remind us of the patriotism, love of country, duty and honor demonstrated by our local and state veterans, as well as our citizens, throughout our history. This is their legacy. Let this be our legacy and a part of our heritage as Pierce County citizens as well, both now and for all future generations to come.

Montonye’s office hours at the Pierce County Courthouse are Wednesdays from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

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