Students Create Living Memorial - KMOT.COM - Minot, ND - News, Weather, Sports

Students Create Living Memorial

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Most veterans memorials remember soldiers killed in action. But today, students from Mandan Middle School also recognized those who returned home.

Twenty-seven-hundred links make up this memorial chain. Each link bears the name of a North Dakota veteran who served in the Vietnam war.

"To see your name and know that somebody recognizes what you did.  And, you know, even if you didn't get that welcome home, you're still important to us. We see you, and we hear you. That's what the significance is of having that band with that name on it," says event organizer Stephanie Belohla-Geiger.

Students from Mandan Middle School teamed up with a veterans group to make the chain.

"My favorite part of doing this was probably just making the chain and looking at all the names and seeing people that we know, like our families and stuff. So, I think that was the funnest part," says Mandan student Mikah Anderson.

"Probably honoring the veterans that served in the war. It felt good. It felt good," says Mandan student Danek Vega.

The links are color coded. Red represents soldiers killed in action, black symbolizes prisoners of war and those missing in action and green and yellow signify those who returned home.

"The more they were putting the chain together, the more they got into it. Because, it was their grandfather, it was their great-uncle. All these relatives are on this chain. So, that's really cool."

Veterans looked for their names and spoke with students about their service.

"It was heart warming, just heart warming, to see those kids and their enthusiasm in holding that chain up and reading the names that were between their hands. And that was just a great, great feeling for me," says veteran Ron Otto.

Twenty thousand North Dakota soldiers served in the Vietnam War. Geiger says they hope to add 2,000 links every year until the chain is complete.

Geiger says it's important to notice the how many green and yellow links are on the chain. Because, while it's important to memorialize those we lost, it's equally important to remember the soldiers who came home.

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