DICKINSON, N.D. – Naomi Obrigewitch knew an hour after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, that her life in Dickinson was about to change.
“It started to dawn on me that I have a husband in the military, and I truly believed right then, there and that day that it was going to become a reality that he was going to be involved in some way, shape or form,” she said during a recent interview at her home.
Despite being about 1,500 miles from New York City, the tragic events of 9/11 affected the lives of thousands of North Dakotans during the past 10 years.
The North Dakota National Guard has mobilized nearly 3,800 soldiers and more than 1,800 airmen in support of what’s been called the Global War on Terrorism.
A dozen soldiers with the North Dakota National Guard have been killed, as well as 12 other service members with North Dakota ties.
To honor their service and to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11, we visited with four North Dakotans in the military about how that day in history would go on to change their lives.
I began this project a month ago and crossed the state capturing the stories of North Dakota servicemen. Be sure to read The Forum, The Grand Forks Herald, The Jamestown Sun or The Dickinson Press this weekend to read the stories of these soldiers.
Also go online to the newspaper websites to watch the documentaries and hear these men talk about how that day in history would go on to impact them.
If you’re interested in attending a Sept. 11 event, there are several being offered across the state. This includes a public event at the state Capitol starting at 1:30 p.m. CT on Sunday.
Gov. Jack and first lady Betsy Dalrymple will host the ceremony on the Capitol steps and will honor members of North Dakota’s law enforcement, fire and emergency medical services, military and families of the fallen, a news release said.
Featured speakers include Lt. Col. Dean Eckmann, one of the three Happy Hooligans pilots who patrolled over the nation’s capital on September 11, 2001; Lincoln police officer Marcel Sim, who worked as a paramedic with the New York Police Department at Ground Zero on 9/11; Jenette Nelson, whose daughter, Ann, was killed in the north tower of the World Trade Center; and Paul Goodiron, whose son, Cpl. Nathan Goodiron, was killed in Afghanistan while supporting the Global War on Terrorism.
Also Sunday, an event will be offered at 11 a.m. CT at the International Peace Garden.
Premier of Manitoba Greg Selinger, North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jaeger, Canadian Council General to the Midwest Martin Loken and Alex Forrest, president of the United Firefighters of Winnipeg, will be among the officials participating in the ceremony.
Canadian Major-General Alain Parent is a special guest speaker. He was responsible for directing American and international flights into Canadian airports on Sept 11, 2001.
Former North Dakota Lt. Gov.and International Peace Garden board member Mrs. Rosemarie Myrdal will act as emcee for the event. Admission to the park will be free.