Fallen Heroes Bridge Dedication for Veterans Day

The Early evening news on KOTA Territory TV
Published: Nov. 11, 2022 at 7:17 PM CST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - To most people, it’s just a bridge. But one Belle Fourche family has a reason to take a little more pride in it.

The bridge is located near the Round Up grounds is dedicated to Lelund Morris Kahler. He was drafted into the military in 1968 when he was 22 years old. Kahler earned 18 medals during his time in Vietnam, but died in April of 1969.

“This bridge gives another veteran, especially us Vietnam veterans another chance to have our story told,” Maj. (Retired) Mike Reade, said.

The Round Up grounds are special because Kahler’s father would take him to run there in the summer.

“We know we needed to do something; it’s been 53 years since Lelund died. And in commemorating Lelund, we feel we commemorate all the veterans who have served, but especially the Vietnam Veterans,” said Clark Sowers of Belle Fourche.

In addition to this bridge, Sowers is hoping to get the Highway 85 bridge across the Belle Fourche River commemorated in memory of Kahler. Sowers is currently collecting letters and getting ready to present the idea to the state.

“It’s just a sacrifice of a veteran and that we remember that at any time any of our military members can be placed in that same situation,” said Stacey Raisanen of Belle Fourche.

This bridge is just one of many that are a part of the Fallen Heroes Bridge Dedication Program, which dedicates state bridges to South Dakotans who were killed in action or classified as missing in action.