SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — People across the country paused Wednesday to honor the men and women who have served in the military.
In Sioux Falls, a good-sized crowd braved temperatures in the mid-20s outside the Military Heritage Alliance building to mark this Veterans Day.
Today’s ceremony held special meaning for everyone here, but especially for Daren Teggatz a Navy veteran. He helped raise the American flag.
While our focus is on the American flag, the pole it’s being raised on also carries special meaning. It is the original flag pole from the reserve center built in 1960.
The Reserve Center is no more, but the pole was saved and replanted at the new Alliance headquarters.
Teggatz lowered the last flag to fly on this pole almost 10 years ago.
“I led the detail that lowered the flag on this flag pole and they asked me if I wanted to raise the flag again on this flag pole, so I said yep most definitely,” Teggatz said.
Daren also helped raise the American POW-MIA flag in honor of those soldiers who have never come home. One of those South Dakotans is Allen Duane Christensen of Flandreau.
His family believes he died when his helicopter crashed in 1972 and his remains have never been found.
His brother and sister came to watch the flag being raised and to hear their brother’s name during the ceremony.
“It made me cry, I know that there are many many many men missing and I care about them all, but one has my heart. It felt good to see that he hadn’t been forgotten,” sister, Janice Waugh said.
“They’ve taken DNA samples several times from me now in hopes that they’ll find something, it does happen so you can’t give up hope,” brother, Daryl Christensen said.
The Christensens hope the flag pole and the flags it will fly for years to come to keep their brother’s memory alive. And those of the six other South Dakotans who have never come home from Vietnam.
The flag pole itself has been named after Lt. Jonas H. Lien who was killed in the Spanish-American War. He’s believed to be the first person from Sioux Falls killed in a foreign war.