Son of Basin Electric employee lays wreath at Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

A class trip to Washington, D.C. over Memorial Day weekend turned into a lifelong memory for eighth grader Isaac Peterson, son of Basin Electric Compliance Program Specialist Colleen Peterson. During a visit to Arlington National Cemetery, he was chosen for the opportunity of a lifetime – to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Peterson was one of four students from Watcher Middle School in Bismarck, North Dakota, to be chosen to take part in the ceremony, which takes place once a day. For a school to get selected for this honor is rare because so many apply, but to be chosen over Memorial Day weekend is even more rare.

How did Peterson get chosen? Truly by luck of the draw – his name was pulled out of a hat. “It was amazing I got chosen, it was such a great honor,” he says. “We witnessed the changing of the guard right before the ceremony. Nobody made a sound. We were totally in awe. And being able to do it on Memorial Day weekend made it even more special. The cemetery was packed with family members going every direction to honor their fallen solider.”

It could be argued that fate had a little something to do with Peterson’s name being chosen. The military has had great impact on not only Peterson, but his family history as well. “Isaac has always had an interest in history, particularly of World War I and World War II,” Colleen Peterson says. “His great uncle was a prisoner of war in World War II after his B-24 was hit by enemy fire, and he wouldn’t share much about his experiences with anyone, but he did with Isaac. And both Isaac’s grandfathers served in the army, as well, which Isaac thinks is pretty special.”

She says that Peterson has always had a great respect for service men and women and what they have given up and continue to give up for our freedom, so he understands what an honor laying the wreath was. When his name was chosen, he got emotional. “Isaac is an amazing young man and to see him get this opportunity made his dad and me very proud,” she says. “It was an experience none of us will ever forget.”

Bismarck news station KFYR-TV did a story about the ceremony. Take a look.


  1. Kim Buntrock says:

    Good Lord What an incredible experience!!!!!

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