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The Vietnam War remains one of the most controversial military conflicts in U.S. history. Many who fought for this country were mistreated when they got back home.

Now, those who died for their country are getting the recognition they deserve thanks to the hard work of some Bismarck High School students.

John Lundin of Sentinel Butte, N.D., wanted to be a farmer in Kansas after coming home from Vietnam. He wasn't able to fulfill his dream. To honor his sacrifice, a group of Bismarck High students gathered soil from his home, and from where he hoped to move, and painted a shovel in his memory.

"It's just so special to us because we got to be a part of their lives because they told us everything that was going on when all of it was happening," said Emily Schmid, BHS senior.

One hundred fifty students made similar projects for veterans from around North Dakota.

Fourteen of the about 30 artifacts that the Bismarck High students made are on display at the Heritage Center. Now once these artifacts are done being displayed, they'll be placed at the deceased veterans name on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington ,D.C.

"Sadness, happiness, it's a mix of emotion. Like I say, this should've been done a long time ago. We shouldn't have waited 50 years," said Vietnam veteran James Nelson.

In addition to these projects, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., has been sharing these veterans stories on the floor of the Senate all summer.

"It's time to stand up. It's time to be proud. It's time to recognize this service that wasn't recognized at the time, and it is time to say thank you to that generation of warriors who gave their lives for our country," said Heitkamp.

Time is something these soldiers didn't have, but thanks to these, their memories will live on.

The artifacts will be on display for the next month at the Heritage Center in the Native American Hall of Honor.

Published by Max Grossfeld - KFYR TV

News Topic(s): Appreciation