Dent unveils veterans memorial
"Hidden heroes" are all around us--often unrecognized in the workplace and in our everyday life.
That's how Fargo Air National Guard General Pat Martin described America's "Citizen Soldiers" who serve their country--but often melt quietly into their civilian life.
The community of Dent had the rare privilege of hosting a general July 11, as American Legion Post 148 conducted a dedication ceremony for the brand new Veterans Memorial in the city's park area along Highway 108.
Nearly 100 people were on hand for the program--many of them those very "hidden heroes" who General Martin saluted in his message at the dedication ceremony.
The inscription on the slab of granite reads: "All gave some, some gave all... Dedicated to all past, present and future veterans who have or who will serve their country."
"Veterans are always quietly pitching in, always helping the community," said Martin as he commended those who helped bring the Veterans Memorial to reality.
In addition to a general, Dent also had the honor of hosting Minnesota's top ranking American Legion official, Commander Tom Conway.
"In our daily life, we tend to take freedom for granted," said Conway. But the Dent memorial, with its visible location on Highway 108, will be a constant reminder to "those passing through Dent...that freedom is not free."
Applauding the volunteer efforts that were invested in the memorial project, Master of Ceremonies Bill Barbnecht said that Dent "didn't get any federal stimulus money for this memorial. It was accomplished all by the hard work of veterans and volunteers."
"The Dent Legion Club is known throughout the state for its volunteer spirit," added Barbnecht.
For professional bricklayer Everett Mastau, who designed the memorial and volunteered labor to build it, his contribution was a matter of returning a huge favor.
"I was happy to be able to give something back to you guys for a change," said Mastau to the many veterans in the audience. Mastau, a member of Dent Post 148 Sons of the American Legion, had tears in his eyes as he addressed the audience.
High school student Cody Schepp, a winner of a writing contest promoting patriotism, read his essay at the Dent program.
"American veterans are the most courageous people I know. They shaped our world both geographically and morally," said Schepp. "They are true American heroes."
Guest speaker Phil Bellefuille described it as a "great day for veterans, and a great day for the city of Dent."
Other speakers at the event included Post 148 Commander Don Seifert; Ninth District Legion Commander John Sampson; and Post 148 Chaplain Frank Wines. Performing the national anthem, patriotic music selections and taps on his euphonium and trumpet was Russ Kadow.
Dent Mayor Perry Coleman summed up the occasion with his words "we owe veterans a debt that is more than we can ever repay."