Annual North Dakota gathering for military veterans put on hold

DEVILS LAKE, N.D. (AP) — An annual gathering of veterans in North Dakota to share stories of World War II, the Korean War and other military experiences may have come to an end.

Organizers of the Dakota Bull Session, which began in Devils Lake more than 20 years ago, say there are no plans to meet this year.

“The World War II guys are moving on,” said Duane Carter, 87, of Devils Lake. “It’s become too much for those of us still here.”

Carter told the Grand Forks Herald that the number of younger participants has not kept pace with the loss of older veterans.

“We’re having some trouble getting some young blood,” he said.

The event started as a reunion of U.S. Navy veterans in 1990. It has evolved over the years to include veterans from all service branches.

Keynote speakers have included former North Dakota Gov. William Guy, who survived the Japanese kamikaze sinking of his destroyer off Okinawa in 1945, as well as other notable North Dakotans who have reached the naval rank of rear admiral and generals in the Army and Marine Corps.

Last year’s session drew 130 veterans.

“They wanted to come back,” Carter said. “I just enjoy visiting with the guys, and the stories. I’m going to miss that.”

Organizers said they hope the event can be revived. Members have discussed other options, including moving it to other cities, finding an organization to help, or incorporating the session with one of the state’s military or National Guard bases.

“We’ve had good cooperation and support here in Devils Lake over the years,” Carter said.

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