WASHINGTON (KELO) — Among the 85 veterans honored during the Midwest Honor Flight trip to Washington, D.C. on Sept. 26 was Army veteran Rodney Docken of Baltic who served in the Korean War. While visiting the Korean War Veterans Memorial on the National Mall, he made a rubbing of one of the names etched into the memorial.
“Well, that was kind of neat,” Docken said. “We had to hunt for a crayon to do it.”
All told, more than 43,000 names are at the memorial; each died coming to South Korea’s defense. Accompanying Docken on his trip to Washington as his guardian was Kathy Metzger, who lives in the Brandon area.
“He said, ‘I’m going to look for a name, a neighbor boy that got killed in the Korean War,'” Metzger said. “And so we looked, and we found it, and we found a crayon and he did the etching, and it’s amazing.”
“Duane Megard was his name … nicknamed him ‘Dizzy,’ went to school in Garretson,” Docken said.
“The reason was when he went to dances, the girls loved dancing with him so he danced every dance,” Duane’s brother Roger Megard of Sioux Falls said. “And one night he said, ‘Oh, I think I’m getting dizzy,’ and then he became ‘Diz.'”
KELOLAND News sat down on Monday with the 89-year-old Roger, Duane’s only sibling, and with the help of an iPad showed him how Docken honored his late brother in Washington.
“Oh, that’s an awesome picture, isn’t it,” Roger said.
Born in Garretson, Duane graduated from Garretson High School and South Dakota State University.
“Very energetic and always had friends around him because he was an entertainer,” Roger said. “He loved people and people loved being around him.”
A drive down Highway 11 in rural eastern South Dakota near Garretson leads to Duane’s final resting place. Here, his headstone lists the day he was killed in action: October 7, 1951.
“Nearly the entire unit was killed with shrapnel,” Roger said.
Docken made his rubbing just 11 days shy of what will be the 72nd anniversary of Duane’s passing. Today in 2023, Duane’s proud “little” brother often thinks of him.
“Very often,” Roger said. “You think of ‘what if.’ What if he would have survived, as opposed to losing his life at such an early age.”