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Legislative Report District 13: Legislative Report District 13 West Fargo, state, nation lose one of our finest

On Friday, one of West Fargo's, North Dakota's, and America's finest was laid to rest.

Captain Eric "Dirk" Ziegler, 30, was a proud son of West Fargo, as noted by an Air Force buddy who spoke for many who had probably never been to our community or state before, but who knew of this place from one who held it dear.

A graduate of West Fargo High School and the United States Air Force Academy, Eric did us all proud as a decorated Air Force flier, fighter pilot and test pilot. He ultimately gave his life doing what he loved most - flying.

Shock waves coursed through the community and state when news reached us that Eric's plane went down on a test flight near a Nevada Air Force base. Tense hours followed, as many awaited confirmation of the dreaded news.

A modest young man, many of Eric's remarkable academic and military accomplishments weren't known until they were recounted in his obituary and memorial services. His classmates and others in the community rallied to remember this "quiet leader," their friend who, it seemed, had left them so early.

Some will remember Eric Ziegler as an accomplished military flier who served our nation well and helped protect the land he loved. Some will remember him as a son, brother, husband, father, grandson, neighbor or friend. For our family, he'll always be remembered as a kind, generous young man who genuinely cared about those around him.

You see, Eric went to West Fargo High School and was active in the Youth Group at Shiloh Evangelical Free Church in West Fargo, with our children. His faith was known by all who knew him. At his memorial service, those who knew him best, in recent years, attested that it was evident in his life and that he not only spoke of it, but that he also lived it.

For those who share his faith, it is a comfort to trust that he is with his Lord and that we'll see him again.

For all of us, this personal loss is also a reminder that freedom isn't free. Eric's brief life is a testament to that difficult fact. Let us all remember and be thankful for his service and that of so many others.

Eric,...Captain Ziegler..., you'll be missed by so many in so many places. Godspeed and Rest in Peace.

Your legislators appreciate hearing from you. You may reach us by mail, e-mail, or telephone: Sen. Judy Lee (; 282-6512); Rep. Alon Wieland (; 282-9470); Rep. Kim Koppelman (; 282-9267).