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Forum and wire reports, Published November 11 2013

Veterans shown appreciation in ceremonies throughout ND, Minnesota

FARGO - North Dakota and Minnesota veterans of wars recent and long ago, many wearing formal military attire, attracted appreciation Monday in ceremonies across the state marking Veterans Day.

Members of the Fargo Legion Color Guard, AMVETS Post 7, Vietnam Veterans of America and the ladies auxiliaries marche down the streets of downtown Fargo and then participated in a flag-raising ceremony outside the Fargo Civic Memorial Auditorium.

During ceremonies in Bismarck, North Dakota officials said the nation owes its military veterans an enormous gratitude that extends beyond the confines of the annual Veterans Day holiday.

State and federal officials addressed a crowd of more than 200 during the annual Veterans Day ceremony at the North Dakota Heritage Center in Bismarck, the Bismarck Tribune reported.

North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple said generations of patriots dating back to the nation's founding have made sacrifices to ensure the quality of life Americans enjoy today.

Dalrymple said he and first lady Betsy Dalrymple were reminded of veterans' sacrifices recently when they welcomed a group home from a tour in Afghanistan.

When watching one veteran greet his 3-year-old child after being away for a year, "we were humbled by the sacrifices made by our veterans," Dalrymple said.

Maj. Gen. David Sprynczynatyk, the state National Guard commander, said about 65 of every 10,000 North Dakotans serve in the National Guard, a rate several times higher than the national average.

"Today, we pause to recognize our nation's most important citizens," Sprynczynatyk said.

Col. Giselle Wilz of the National Guard said she was deployed to the Middle East in 1990 during the first Gulf War, but didn't understand a veteran's responsibilities until the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

"What it meant to be a veteran became crystal clear," Wilz said. "Freedom isn't a gift. It is a responsibility."

Minnesota veterans of wars recent and long ago, many wearing formal military attire, also attracted appreciation Monday in ceremonies across the state.

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton and other political dignitaries spoke at the official state ceremony in Inver Grove Heights. State leaders also appeared at events from Austin to St. Cloud. Events were planned at veterans' homes, museums, high schools and other places.

Minnesota has roughly 370,000 veterans Dayton said the honors to them must extend year-round.

"You deserve a grateful nation to remember and say, 'Thank you,'" the governor told dozens of veterans and their families at a community center gathering.

U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar said the best recognition for veterans is to make sure their health care is provided for, they have employment opportunities and can receive mental health services.