Over seven decades ago, young North Dakotans left farms, schools, and the comfort of home to defend freedom in unheard of locations around the globe. They saved the world, then came home to rebuild their lives, their state, and the nation.
Many of them have now lost the battle with time and we mourn each loss, but right now there is a quest to locate all WWII veterans still living in North Dakota for the Victory Roll Call, an historic roster or census to mark the 70th Anniversary of the end of the war.
This is not an easy task. The North Dakota 'Red Book' is a register of those who entered service from 1941-1945, but there is no listing of those who are still living in the state, or those who moved into or out of ND in the last 70 years.
According to Jerome Tweton's research on the NDStudies.org website, 58,509 men and 1,570 women from North Dakota served during the worldwide conflict. The Veterans Administration estimates that, as of September 2015, there are approximately 1,860 veterans over the age of 85 in the state.
The Census Office at the North Dakota Department of Commerce has used this estimate as well as county level demographics to estimate the number of WWII veterans that may be residing in each county. This number will be helpful as county newspapers, historical societies, veterans service organizations, and families take up the challenge to inform and assist the WWII veterans register for the Victory Roll Call.
The Roll Call will include those who served in the Army, Army Air Force, Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard, as well as those in the Merchant Marines and Cadet Nurse Corps. A special section will include those who entered service from North Dakota and are now living elsewhere, and citizens with significant homefront duties such as "Rosies," or supervisors of bond sales, recycling centers, or civil defense. Written stories are welcome and will be added to the archives at the State Historical Society.
Governor Dalrymple declared "North Dakota WWII Victory Celebration" period to begin V-J Day, September 2, 2015, to commemorate the official end of WWII, and continue through Nov. 11 in honor of Veterans Day. In addition the goal of creating the Victory Roll Call, all those who served in World War II are invited to a Victory Program and USO style dance that will be held at the World War Memorial Building in Bismarck on Oct. 10th. That event is free and open to the public.
For more information about the North Dakota WWII Victory Celebration, visit the Website: www.ndwwiivictoryceleb.wix.com/victory
Mail: ND WWII Victory Celebration, PO Box 1111, Bismarck, ND 58502-1111; Phone: 701-333-2064 and leave contact information for a return phone call.
Published by Minot Daily News