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Storm passes before Memorial Day service in Wadena

The WDC Band performs music as a salute to veterans on Memorial Day at the Wadena Cemetery. Michael Johnson/Pioneer Journal1 / 2
VFW Post 3922 Commander Mike Tast thanks and welcomes home Vietnam Veterans during a special ceremony as part of the Memorial Day services in Wadena. Michael Johnson/Pioneer Journal2 / 2

Dozens gathered in the Wadena Cemetery on Memorial Day to honor those veterans that died and those surviving after an early morning thunderstorm passed over.

Addressing the crowds was Nicole Wehry, a U.S. Army veteran, who began her military career in 2002 when she joined the Minnesota National Guard. She deployed to Iraq in 2005 and spent time in Tikrit and Baghdad. Upon returning to the U.S., Wehry worked as a civilian contractor at Fort Huachuca, Ariz., until 2012.

Wehry gave tribute to those that died and to those that continue to serve and sacrifice their lives for their country.

"We mourn our brothers and sisters that died then and we mourn them again now," Wehry said.

She paid tribute to the more than 82,000 service members that are still missing in action. She noted that just this last year the remains of USS Indianapolis were discovered, offering some amount of closure to the families of the nearly 900 lost following the sinking of their ship. She gave several examples of those that continue to serve at home and abroad and hoped that their sacrifice would not be forgotten.

Wehry and her husband, Jason, have three children and are members of the local VFW Post 3922. It was Wehry's hope that her children and all youth would understand the sacrifices of veterans and would understand where their freedom comes from.

"As long as we continue to honor them with our actions and remember their sacrifices, they will never be forgotten," Wehry said.

Following Wehry's address, VFW Post 3922 member Jimmy White asked Vietnam veterans that had not been welcomed back and offered a 50th anniversary commemorative pin for serving in Vietnam to come forward. Five men came forward and were honored for their service as well as welcomed back in front of the crowd.

One of the veterans was Bruce Boyne who wanted to publicly thank the group of men that were injured in saving his life when he was injured in Vietnam.

"I have really special memories of those guys," Boyne said.

Following the service at the Wadena Cemetery, a portion of the crowd went to Sunnybrook Park where those lost at sea were honored as flowers were dropped into the creek in their remembrance.