Published May 30, 2022

Small Town Hosts Big Memorial Day Celebrations

Written by
Charlene Nelson
| The Dakotan
Veteran's Memorial in Buffalo [Photo: Charlene Nelson/The Dakotan]
Veteran's Memorial in Buffalo [Photo: Charlene Nelson/The Dakotan]

BUFFALO — The small town of Buffalo in western Cass County (population 184) held weekend-long celebrations commemorating Memorial Day. The commemorations began on Saturday, May 28. Under the direction of John Halland, newly installed commander of American Legion Eastern Yanish Post 10, American flags were placed at the gravesides of all veterans. 

On Monday, May 30 at 10:00 a.m., the graveside ceremony was moved to the Fire Hall because of inclement weather. The ceremony honoring veterans who have died in service began with a prayer by post chaplain, Larry Zaun. It included military songs and a roll call of all the veteran dead from both Tower City and Buffalo. The ceremony ended with playing Taps.

A commemorative wreath was placed at the veteran's memorial.

“The flowers may fade and die, but the courage and dedication that they represent will endure forever,” Halland said as members of the post presented the wreath.

Wreath at the Memorial [Photo: Charlene Nelson/The Dakotan]

Afterwards, the post served lunch to all attendees for a free-will offering. About 125 people attended the morning's commemoration.

At 1:00 p.m. a Flag of Honor was presented to the school in memory of Jack Johnson, a 1941 graduate of Buffalo High School who served in the U.S. Army Air Corps and in remembrance of all World War II veterans.

Meanwhile at the historic Buffalo High School there was a special exhibit titled North Dakota Women at War, featuring local women who served in the military or worked in defense jobs on the home front. The exhibit included a Navy uniform blouse given to Stella Miller Coon for her help with recruiting during World War I. 

Buffalo Women on the Homefront [Photo: Charlene Nelson/The Dakotan]

There was also a display table honoring the fallen soldiers of U.S. wars, including pictures and other memorabilia.

Joe Weigand, who routinely performs at Medora, gave two performances in Buffalo. As a Teddy Roosevelt impersonator, he recounted the life of the nation's 26th president, highlighting his connections to North Dakota. Audiences were captivated by his humorous and heartfelt storytelling. After the performances he talked to audience members and took pictures with them.

Joe Weigand as President Roosevelt talks about coming to North Dakota [Photo: Charlene Nelson/The Dakotan]

The events of the day illustrate Buffalo's commitment to preserving and passing on the heritage that knits this community together.

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