MSU President's column for Traill County Tribune

October 28, 2017 

Veterans Day is the perfect time to remember a loved one at the Military Honor Garden

Veterans Day was first commemorated on November 11, 1919, and was known as Armistice Day. Veterans Day continues to be observed on November 11 each year as a celebration to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.

November 11 is fast-approaching and thoughts of Mayville State University’s Military Honor Garden come to mind. The Military Honor Garden at Mayville State pays tribute not only to those who died during their service to their country, but also to those veterans who came home to their loved ones. It is our privilege to provide a beautiful place where we can honor these very special men and women. If you haven’t been by for a while, I encourage you to stop and see the beautiful memorial.

The Military Honor Garden features a life-sized bronze eagle in flight sculpture, flags, night lighting, and gardens. All five branches of the military are represented on the granite centerpiece on which the eagle sculpture stands. This beautiful and meaningful project is a tribute to Mayville State employees, students, and friends, and community men and women for their patriotic service in America’s Armed Forces. The intent is to honor anyone who has served in the military. Those honored definitely can be, but do not have to be, Mayville State alumni.

Martin Johnson, 1966 Mayville State graduate and USMC Corporal, and Lieutenant General Emil “Buck” Bedard (Retired, USMC), 1965 Mayville State graduate, are heading up the project. These men have worked hard to ensure that the Military Honor Garden is an extra-special and meaningful tribute to those who bravely served, and continue to serve, to uphold our country’s liberty and freedom. We are grateful to Marty and Buck for taking charge of this project, and to the many people who have given their financial support to make it happen.

Many people have made gifts of $500 or more to the project so that they can have the name(s) of their loved ones engraved on granite plaques that are incorporated into the memorial walk. In addition, the late Valorie Brown, Cavalier, N.D., widow of David G. Brown, a 1971 graduate of Mayville State, donated the amazing bronze statue depicting a life-sized bald eagle in flight in memory of her husband. Two beautifully engraved granite benches flank the eagle statue. One was donated by Dixie and Larry McGillis in honor of Dixie’s dad, Edwin, and his six brothers, all who served in World War II, and all who came home to Edmore, N.D. The second bench honors and remembers all American military recognized as KIA, POW, and MIA. The bench was provided by friends and teammates of Melville “Buzz” Lurth, Jr., who graduated from Mayville State in 1968 and was killed in Vietnam in 1969. Two large flower pots have recently been added to the landscape. We are appreciative of Phyllis Enger’s family and the May-Port EDC beautification grant program, who provided these beautiful additions to the garden.

There is room for expansion at the Military Honor Garden. If you’d like to sponsor a granite plaque in honor of a loved one, please contact Brock Sherva at or 701-788-4679 to learn more. You can also see more information and make your gift online at When you purchase an engraved plaque to be placed in the Military Honor Garden, a portion of the funds will be used to support a new veterans scholarship fund at Mayville State. In addition, the Alumni Association has made a commitment to host a ceremony of remembrance at the Military Honor Garden each year during homecoming. The program includes the reading of the names of all who have been honored in the garden by their loved ones.

I encourage you to observe Veterans Day on November 11 and to consider a gift to the Military Honor Garden project as a tribute to a loved one who is a veteran. And please do stop by the Military Honor Garden at Mayville State to honor our heroes, on Veterans Day or any day.