Special ceremony held in honor of Memorial Day at North Dakota Veterans Cemetery

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MANDAN, N.D. - Many North Dakotans honored those who gave their lives for our country on this Memorial Day, and whether the gatherings were small or large, the sentiments were the same.

Proudly singing our Nation's hymn is how many spent Memorial Day.

The sounds were part of the annual ceremony at the North Dakota Veterans Cemetery in Mandan. Its purpose was to honor all veterans and recognize those still serving.

"We have men and women in the war on terror who serve today and who are in harm's way, so keep them in your prayers today and everyday," said Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D.

Two Black Hawk helicopters flew over the site and an Honor Guard performed in the ceremony. Besides veterans and their families many in the community attend, and it's noticed.

"The support from the community to recognize those who serve and those who have paid the ultimate sacrfice is just..it means a lot to someone in the service like myself," said North Dakota National Gurard Adjutant General Alan Dohrmann.

The crowd heard remarks from other speakers, including Louis Hanson, the program's keynote speaker. The 97-year-old shared his experiences from World War Two and how a mosquito pushing his helmet higher saved his life from a bullet.

"Getting an opportunity to hear him talk about his time in the Pacific theater of operations, his near death experience, and getting an opportunity to see some of his extended family as well," said Britt Hatley, North Dakota Air National Guard

The event closed with a cannon salute and closing prayer.

Organizers say more than 500 motorcycle riders participated in the procession to the cemetery.