Fargo WWII veteran receives Quilt of Valor – InForum

FINGAL, ND — A local WWII veteran has received a high honor.

Kirk Kirkhoff was just a young man when he joined the US Army and the war.

Decades later, the Fingal, North Dakota native who survived some of Europe’s greatest battles is being let go.

At 96, Kirk Kirkhoff remembers details of his life that have never left him.

“We arrived in England on November 1, 1944,” Kirkhoff said. “You did what you were told to do.”

Like the day he was drafted into World War II. He had just graduated from high school at Fingal.

“It was the first time I saw my father cry; he had been in World War I,” Kirkhoff said.

At 18, Kirkhoff goes to war.

“I can still picture the Statue of Liberty as we sailed out of New Jersey Harbor,” he said.

Kirkhoff can tell you about the boat trip over England and then the incredible journey through France, Germany and Belgium.

World War II veteran Kirk Kirkhoff studies a map of Europe detailing the movement of American troops during the war.

Ryan Longnecker / WDAY

“I think I was too young to be scared,” he laughed.

And where the United States would fight unforgettable battles.

“Not well. Not well. The Battle of the Bulge and the crossing of the Rhine,” Kirkhoff said, thinking back to those infamous moments.

He would return home to Fingal’s calm in 1946.

“I think I celebrated all summer. It was 1946 and a lot of my friends came back at the same time,” Kirkhoff said.

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A photo of World War II veteran Kirk Kirkhoff as a young serviceman in the U.S. Army is displayed at an event honoring Kirkhoff’s service.

Ryan Longnecker / WDAY

He saw the Washington Monument honoring him and many others on the WDAY Honor Flight. And just days ago, in a special ceremony, the national group Quilts of Valor awarded Kirkhoff a quilt, one of nearly 300,000 made. His niece, Dianne, helped finish it.

“Pretty amazing, a little thing to say thank you. Very small,” Dianne Skramstad said.

It serves as a warm reminder of a veteran’s service. Almost 80 years after that voyage across the ocean and those marches over Europe, it’s a small way to say a big thank you.

Volunteers across the country have been making these Quilts of Valor since 2003.

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