Vietnam soldier, Medal of Honor recipient, honored in McGregor - KBJR 6 Your Weather Authority: News, Weather & Sports

Vietnam soldier, Medal of Honor recipient, honored in McGregor

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MCGREGOR -

He sacrificed himself during the Vietnam War earning him America's highest military decoration, the Medal of Honor. 

Wednesday marked the 50th anniversary of Dale Wayrynen's heroic death. 

His hometown of McGregor, Minnesota held a memorial service in honor of the brave fallen solider.  

Dozens of people gathered at the Wayside memorial in McGregor to honor Wayryren who died in battle at the age of 20. 

The soldiers mother, LaVerne Malinen says, "by the time he finished high school he has already enlisted, before he was actually done. So he went in about a month later."

Wayryren joined the army in 1965. He spent two years in the states before volunteering go overseas to Vietnam. 

"He was determined to go to Vietnam, and that's where he was going. You can tell that it was just meant to be"

During the night, an enemy-thrown grenade that was tossed into his company. Wayryren acted fast and threw himself on the live grenade undoubtedly saving many lives, by sacrificing his own. 

His mother says, "the first telegram we got said he was shot by a sniper. I had the weirdest feeling that something was just a little wrong."

"We found out later what he had did. Then we didn't really know a whole lot about that either until we went to the White House is 69," says his younger brother John Wayrynen. 

During Nixon's reign in 1969, the White House invited the Wayryren family to the nations capitol to personally hand over a Medal of Honor for the soldier. The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration in the United States.  Wayryren is one of five to receive the award in Minnesota during Vietnam. 

Now, the community of McGregor honors the brave soldier in many ways. 

"They're really good to our family. They have a gymnasium for him and the legion for him, and there's a big display for him at the school"

On top of all that, there is a memorial statue and stretch of highway along highway 210/169 named the Dale Wayrynen Memorial Highway. 

Wayryren's brother said there are many words to describe his brother but one word stands out more than others. 

"Heroic...he was a good guy, everybody liked him." 

Following the memorial service there was a pot luck at the VFW where community members gathered and celebrated Wayryren's heroism. 

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