SD Department of Veterans Affairs honored a bridge last weekend in Watertown

WATERTOWN, S.D.(KXLG)- On Saturday morning, family members and friends gathered at the BG Ernie Edwards Readiness Center in Watertown for an honoring ceremony of a loved soldier killed during the Vietnam War.

KXLG News attended this incredible bridge dedication for Sgt. James Haider; before it started, we spoke with a long-time, well-known resident of the Kranzburg/Goodwin and Waverly area, at 97-years-old, Clarice Thyen.

The history people like Clarice can recall and tell you is astonishing; it can also make you grateful for your life in today’s modern world.

The dedication was organized by the South Dakota Department of Veteran Affairs. Secretary Greg Whitlock opened up the ceremony; after the presentation of the colors by Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 1054, the Invocation by Dan Halajian, the Pledge of Allegiance led by Braeden and Carson Schramm, and God Bless America performed by Doug Christiensen.

Whitlock tells the story of James Haider.

Major Cody Becker told a more in-depth story on Sgt. James Haider.

Katie Mack was married to Sgt. Haider, when he was deployed, she was also pregnant with baby Lynnelle “Strom,” his daughter he was never able to meet. She is married to Stuart Strom, and Lynnelle has two sons, Braeden and Carson Schramm, who led the Pledge of Allegiance earlier.

Katie Mack spoke as well.

The bridge where the dedicated memorial sign is to be located is on the “new” bridge over the Big Sioux River in Watertown on highway 212 and just north of 3rd St SW. Thank you to Sgt. James Haider for his sacrifice, and all men and women who have and continue to sacrifice for our freedom daily.