• June 26, 2007

N.D. Medal of Honor Memorial to be dedicated July 4 in Minot

Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota and TriWest Healthcare Alliance are supporting the dedication of the North Dakota Medal of Honor Memorial, which will take place 12:30 p.m. July 4 at Roosevelt Park in Minot. The Medal of Honor is the nation's highest military award.

Rear Adm. Michael Miller of the U.S. Navy and a Minot native, will be the featured speaker. Among the special guests will be North Dakota's only living Medal of Honor recipient, Michael Fitzmaurice, a Jamestown native who received the Medal of Honor for saving the lives of several soldiers in March 1971 during the Vietnam War.

Participants will include Arch Ellwein portraying Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th U.S. president and a Medal of Honor recipient; and Bill Kolb, chairman of the N.D. Medal of Honor Memorial Committee, who was instrumental in helping to secure private and corporate donations for the memorial. The Minot City Band, conducted by Jerry Spitzer, will perform patriotic songs.

The $250,000 Medal of Honor monument features three 40-foot concrete pillars surrounded by about 20 10-foot pillars, including one for each of the 18 living Congressional Medal of Honor recipients with North Dakota ties. It is adjacent to the park's statue of Roosevelt.

Co-owned by BCBSND, TriWest Healthcare Alliance is a Phoenix-based corporation that administers the military's health care plan, TRICARE (not an acronym), in North Dakota and 20 other western states. TriWest donated $10,000 for the Medal of Honor monument and BCBSND contributed $5,000.