The Ward County Historical Society Pioneer Village Museum in Minot plans to honor area veterans with a new display in the Samuelson House.
Gary Huwe, a Minot State University history student who is working as an intern for the historical society, said he wants to tell stories from all eras, but would like to do something special for Vietnam veterans with the display.
"We ... look up to those guys who served in Vietnam," said Huwe, a war veteran who spent two years recovering from his wounds suffered from the explosion of an improvised explosive device in Baghdad in 2004. Vietnam veterans didn't always get the appreciation they deserved when they returned home from war, said Huwe. Huwe said it has been different for him, since even people who opposed the war in Iraq will come up to him and thank him for his service.
Huwe is loaning the helmet and uniform he was wearing when he was wounded to the museum so it can put on display in the veterans area. He received a medical retirement in 2006 from the North Carolina Army National Guard's 1450th Transportation Company, retiring as a sergeant. During the war his unit was attached to the 101st Airborne Division, making Huwe eligible to wear the 101st Airborne combat patch on his uniform. Also on loan to the museum is Huwe's grandfather's "Eisenhower jacket," which his grandfather wore when he served during World War II.
The jacket that Ward County Historical Society president Glynn Breuer wore in combat, as well as the pilot's helmet and oxygen mask he wore in the B-52 bomber, will also be on display. Breuer retired in 2004 as a U.S. Air Force major. He is a veteran of Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.
Huwe said he would like other local veterans to donate or loan uniforms and other artifacts to the museum that will help tell their stories. He would also like to interview veterans who are willing and will include the short biographies of the veterans along with the display of the artifacts.
Huwe said the veterans display will be dedicated during the State Fair, but the museum will still be accepting donations after that. He would also welcome help from volunteers.
Huwe, who is a 1983 graduate of Minot High School, said he plans to attend graduate school after he graduates from Minot State. His dream job would be to work as a battlefield historian.
"I fell in love with the military and I fell in love with history when I was 9 years old, standing on the Custer Battlefield," said Huwe. He said that was the first time he thought he might like to be a soldier. He doesn't regret serving, but now gets to combine his two passions by helping to create the veterans display.
People who would like more information about the veterans display can contact Huwe by calling 509-6360 or by emailing him at email@example.com.
The Ward County Historical Society Pioneer Village Museum is located on the N.D. State Fairgrounds. It is open Tuesdays through Sundays from 2 to 7 p.m. It will be open every day during the fair, with extended hours.
There will be a number of other activities at the museum each day of the fair, in addition to the dedication of the veterans display.