May 23, 2017

Veterans leave marks on local history

By Jack Dura
Farmer Staff Writer

Under an elegant marble cross in the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery in France rests a man with unique ties to McKenzie County.
Pvt. Carl Edwin Rogen was McKenzie County’s first soldier killed in action, on Oct. 5, 1918, in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive of World War I. He lies among 14,246 American military dead.
Watford City’s American Legion post bears his name, and while Rogen has no descendants here today, his legacy, like over 1,600 other soldiers with McKenzie County ties, is not forgotten.
Shovels will hit the ground this summer on the veterans memorial park planned in Watford City, said Jerry Samuelson, McKenzie County’s veteran services officer. The $2.5 million project has raised $1.2 million thus far and will bring granite monuments to memorialize the hundreds and hundreds of names of McKenzie County veterans.
“We need to honor those that served and especially those that gave the ultimate sacrifice,” Samuelson said, like the 33 local soldiers killed in World War II.
In researching history and checking names, Samuelson said his work has been interesting. He came across 12 McKenzie County veterans who died from influenza while in training in Grand Forks during World War I.
“They’re still vets,” he said. “They were called to active duty.”

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