Pride celebrates dedication of Korean War memorial

Heather Mangan

Heather Mangan

PIERRE – As South Dakota honored Korean War veterans, Gov. Mike Rounds made sure South Dakota State University was a part of the celebration.

The SDSU Pride of the Dakotas was asked to be one of the 33 bands to play at the Korean War Memorial parade and dedication ceremony Sept. 18 in Pierre.

The Korean War Memorial Ceremony was held to unveil the Korean War Monument titled “Forgotten War, Remembered Heroes,” on the state Capitol grounds. The day’s events included a parade, dedication ceremony, dance, special USO entertainment and fireworks.

Distinguished guests that attended the event were U.S. House Representative Stephanie Herseth, Maj. Gen. Michael Gorman, the Adjutant General of South Dakota, and Sang-Sheik Park, an official with South Korea’s consulate in Chicago

“When you think of how many (things were done at the ceremony) it is special to vets,” said Korean War veteran Alvin Thompson of Letcher.

Thirty high school and three university bands played in the ceremony. Each band played in the parade and then came together at the dedication ceremony to play “Stars and Stripes Forever.”

The Pride, along with two other university bands, University of South Dakota and Northern State University, played a special piece, “Independence Hymn,” which was arranged by SDSU’s assistant director of bands James Coull. James McKinney was one of three directors for “Stars and Stripes Forever” and “Independence Hymn.”

The other directors were USD’s Rolf Olson and NSU’s Boyd Perkins.

Rounds said he was impressed with the band’s performance at the World War II Memorial Ceremony in 2001 so he asked them to play at this ceremony. He said he wanted as many university and high school bands to play as possible, but he particularly wanted SDSU to be represented among the bands.

“They truly are the pride of the Dakotas,” he said. “They were a fabulous addition to the dedication.”

Band members were flattered to have the governor specifically ask them to play at the ceremony. The band decided to play in Pierre instead of playing at the SDSU football game Saturday night against Western Oregon.

“It’s very honoring to have Gov. Rounds ask us to be here,” said sophomore pre-dentistry major Sarah French from Rapid City.

Many members of the Pride were just excited to play at the ceremony.

“It made me smile to see all those people waving their flags,” said sophomore nursing major Brianna Havgen from Sioux Falls.

Charles Wray, a Korean War veteran from Elk Point, has never heard the Pride before, but was delighted to see them perform at the ceremony.

“I think it’s fantastic,” he said. “They are really good.”

For some members of the band playing at a ceremony that is dedicated to Korean War veterans is special.

“I’m really happy about (playing) because my uncle was in the Korean War,” said Jenna Hardy, a sophomore music education and Spanish major from Sioux Falls. “I felt like I was part of it.”

The band was not the only organization to represent SDSU at the memorial service. Members of the ROTC program were at the ceremony to help direct traffic, hand out water and answer questions.

The cadets that attended the event enjoyed being around veterans.

“They wore these uniforms so that we can wear them,” said Marty Skovly, a senior sociology major from Estelline.

Charles Blasdell, the assistant professor of military science, said that all the cadets that went to the event volunteered, none of them were forced to go. He said that many of them were excited to help out at the ceremony.

“A lot of the them really (looked) forward to this,” he said.

Herseth said this event was important for college students as well as veterans. She said our country is asking many college-age students to defend our country in Iraq just like the Korean War veterans were asked 50 years ago.

“It is the generation of the college students to be prepared to be the future leaders,” she said.

#1.886014:630230291.jpg:koreanwar5.jpg:The Pride flagline warms up before the parade in Pierre.:Jerry Smith