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Remembering our veterans, also remember to buckle up

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The Memorial Day holiday is approaching, creating a three day weekend for most families to spend a little extra time together, kicking off what everyone would like to be the beginning days of summer hopefully accented by blue skies and warmer temperatures making the setting perfect to pull out the picnic tables and grills.

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Per usual, the West Fargo VFW will be hosting their traditional Memorial Day program, held in remembrance of those who have died in our nation's service.

If you have some time on Monday and you've never participated in one of their Memorial Day programs, take an hour or two out of your day to do so. The organization always does an excellent job - in fine patriotic fashion - of honoring local individuals who have served our state and nation with dignity and honor.

This year, as in the past, there will also be a special salute to the deceased veterans who passed away this last year; as well as a meaningful message from guest speaker Jim Hapala, longtime West Fargo resident and member of the VFW post currently serving as state commander for the organization.

For more information about the program turn to Page 3 of today's paper.

On a related Memorial Day note, statewide law enforcement officials have been stoking up their "Click It or Ticket" campaign statewide emphasizing the importance of fastening your seatbelt every time you head out in your vehicle.

Toward that end, officers will be out in full force through Sunday, June 5, with an increased seat belt enforcement focus to insure that traveling motorists arrive at their destinations safely as part of the national "Click It or Ticket" efforts.

During this time, seat belt and child restraint laws will be strictly enforced.

North Dakota law requires that every front seat occupant must be properly restrained, regardless of their age. A traffic stop can be made if the driver or any passenger appears to be under the age of 18 and is not properly restrained. If an unrestrained driver is 18 years of age or older, they can be cited for not wearing a seat belt if they are stopped for another violation.

Highway Patrol statistics indicate that since 2008, 204 motorists have died from injuries received while being unrestrained at the time of their crash.  NDHP troopers are voluntarily working overtime hours during the upcoming enforcement period in an effort to save lives on North Dakota roadways. Special emphasis will be placed on peak travel periods, including nighttime hours. 

As an introduction to the upcoming enforcement period, the North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT) recently launched a powerful public service announcement on the importance of seat belt use.

The ad features a North Dakota resident whose fiancée was killed in a crash earlier this year on I-94, and pointedly illustrates the importance of seat belt safety to prevent injury and death. 

Statistically, seat belt use is relatively high nationwide - in the mid 80% for usage.

The goal during the Click It or Ticket efforts is to increase the enforcement to ensure each and every traffic law is being followed appropriately, by everyone. 

Officials want to do their part to keep seat belt use high and the community safe.

For more information visit www.ndctsp.org; or to view the Public Service Announcement, visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OVM-suVUiFM.

If you have not yet seen it, it is a real eye opener to the importance of buckling up.

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