WDAY: The News Leader

Published May 31, 2010, 09:43 AM

Military trailblazer honored in Grand Forks

Grand Forks, ND (WDAY TV) - This Memorial Day is a very meaningful one for a Grand Forks family who are proud of their military trailblazer. Mike Lawrence attended a service to remember his aunt Kay, a pilot, who died in a plane crash in 1943.

By: WDAY Staff Reports, WDAY

Kay or "Kathryn" Lawrence grew up in Grand Forks and was a pioneer for women in the Air Force. Women were not recognized as part of the military and Kay never received a proper military burial, but yesterday a bronze medal was put on her grave marking her as a World War two WASP.

"She was a forerunner so to speak to women in aviation. She was the first woman graduate at the UND, in the pilot program. And like I said, grandma always said they forgot Kay."

Kay died about a month into her training when her plane went down and her parachute did not open. President Obama awarded the first women military pilots with the congressional gold medal on March 10th.

South Memorial Park Cemetery in Grand Forks was also filled with people honoring and remembering friends and family who have served in the military.

The ceremony seemed to bring out many different emotions for people who have either lost someone while serving our country or have family serving right now. Some people at the event who have served in the military say they're proud to have fought for this country, and it made them who they are today.

“I always have that fear too that my kids will have to go to Iraq or Afghanistan and God forbid that you know they'll always be safe and keep everybody here safe too.”

The ceremony ended with a rifle salute and a prayer.