Updated: 05/26/2014 5:13 PM
Created: 05/26/2014 4:31 PM WDIO.com
By: Travis Dill
Bugles are playing at Memorial Day services across the Northland, but in West Duluth a World War II veteran was honored for his steadfast remembrance of fallen heroes.
A burst of rifle fire echoed around the veterans memorial in Gary New Duluth as nearly 200 residents gathered for Memorial Day.
Steve Balach helped lead the service, and the World War II veteran said he saw the sacrifice paid by the fallen during his deployment with the Navy.
“I was kamikazied in the Philippines, lost many of my shipmates and was fortunate to survive, but this has happened all over America so they should remember that somebody paid the price for us to enjoy today,” Balach said.
His service and later leadership in the local Veterans of Foreign Wars post helped him rally the community to remember the cost.
His daughter said he instilled the same values in his family.
“We think that recognition of service and recognition of community involvement and recognition of honoring the fallen by practicing your faith openly is all part of what America is about. My father is a true patriot, and that is how he raised us,” Joanie Balach said.
That dedication inspired Mayor Don Ness to proclaim May 26, 2014 as Steve Balach Day in Duluth. His neighbors rejoiced, but Balach was humbled.
“To me it was quite an honor because I just didn't expect them to name May 26. The only thing is when you don't expect it you're not overly prepared for it,” Balach said.
He was at a loss for words, but his daughter said the community's respect for her father and fallen veterans strengthens Gary New Duluth.
“This community will continue to thrive and represent what is best about America, and I have never forgotten my roots,” Joanie Balach said.
A younger group of residents has taken over the neighborhood memorial, and Balach is proud they are following in his footsteps.
“They're in good hands. They've done a great job to honor the Iraq veterans and the Afghan veterans,” Balach said.
More military heroes will pay the ultimate sacrifice, but Balach said they will never be forgotten in Gary New Duluth.
1 Injured in Beltrami Co. House Explosion
The Beltrami County Sheriff's Office posted a report of a house explosion on their Facebook page on Monday night. The Sheriff's office says they received multiple 911 calls regarding an explosion in southwestern Beltrami County at 5:35 p.m. Callers said they could also feel a force strong enough to dislodge pictures from walls and rattle windows.
Pilot Safely Rescued after Ditching Cirrus Plane in Sea
The pilot of a small plane ditched into the sea after running out of fuel 250 miles off Hawaii, but he was safely rescued after officials guided the stricken craft to the area of a cruise ship.
Architects Recommend Complete Rebuild of Duluth Public Library
MSR's report recommends building a completely new facility of roughly the same size at the existing library site. The report estimates the project, known as 'Option C,' will cost $34.7 million. The report says that the overwhelming majority of public responses favored that option. 63 percent voiced support for Option C, while none of the other three options received more than 16 percent.
City Council Approves $300K Loan to Norshor Theatre Developer
The Duluth City Council approved a $300,000 loan agreement Monday night for design work on the Norshor Theatre project in downtown however, that loan comes before any development agreement has been signed.
Man Accused of Intentionally Running Over Woman in Superior Alley
A Superior man faces a possible charge of attempted second-degree intentional homicide after allegedly running over a woman with a car in an alley early Saturday morning and fleeing the scene.