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Bemidji gathers to honor veterans

American Legion Post 14 Auxiliary President Stella Wakonabo, left, and Post Past Commander Pat Hede pay respects after placing of the wreaths during Monday's Memorial Day ceremony in Bemidji's Greenwood Cemetery. Steve Wagner | Bemidji Pioneer1 / 4
Members of the Ralph Gracie American Legion Post 14 Color Guard begin the Memorial Day ceremony on Monday by marching to their positions to post colors in Bemidji's Greenwood Cemetery. Steve Wagner | Bemidji Pioneer2 / 4
Erik Sorensen, center, delivers Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address at the Grand Army of the Republic Monument in Greenwood Cemetery following the formal Memorial Day ceremony Monday in Bemidji. Sorenson is this year's Boys State representative for Bemidji. Steve Wagner | Bemidji Pioneer3 / 4
Members of the Ralph Gracie American Legion Post 14 Color Guard retire the colors Monday during the Memorial Day ceremony in Bemidji's Greenwood Cemetery. Steve Wagner | Bemidji Pioneer4 / 4

'You will not be forgotten'

BEMIDJI - At age 17, Howard Lewis Dreyer enlisted in the U.S. Army while a senior at Bemidji High School.

In August of 1949, Dreyer began his military service, spending time at numerous Army training camps across the country.

He was a member of the 187th Airborne Infantry Regimental Combat Squad, the equivalent of the Army Rangers.

The Army sent Dreyer to Korea in 1950, where the Bemidji man would distinguish himself with battlefield heroics.

Col. Scotty Allison, the Beltrami County veterans' service officer, shared Dreyer's heroism with hundreds who showed up Monday for a Memorial Day service at Bemidji's Greenwood Cemetery.

An Army citation describes Dreyer's brave actions before his death June 1, 1951:

"During this attack the gunner manning a light machine gun was killed instantly, leaving Private Dreyer, automatic rifleman, with the only automatic weapon in operation. Realizing the immediate need for automatic fire, Private Dreyer exposed himself to the enemy and delivered a devastating volume of fire into the hostile ranks, temporarily halting their attack and giving his comrades time to put the light machine gun in operation."

Dreyer's bravery didn't end there.

Check back later for the full story.

Steve Wagner

Grand Forks Herald Editor Steve Wagner can be reached at 701.780.1104 and swagner@gfherald.com. He joined the Herald in April 2013, and previously worked as editor at the Bemidji (Minn.) Pioneer and in several roles -- including news director, investigative reporter and crime reporter - at The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. His reporting experience includes coverage of Dru Sjodin's disappearance and the federal death penalty case for her murderer, Alfonso Rodriguez Jr., along with several investigative projects. In his spare time, Wagner is an avid runner and occasionally writes about his experiences on his blog, Addicted to Running.

(701) 780-1104
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