America pauses today to remember and honor its military veterans, past and present, and their many sacrifices. Communities across Montana will mark the day with ceremonies, parades, assemblies and meals. Here are a few of those events, as submitted by Missoulian readers.
Missoula's American Legion Forgotten Warriors Post No. 101 will conduct its annual wreath-laying and Veterans Day ceremony, with the Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes Honor Guard at 11 a.m. Tuesday at the Doughboy Statue.
Montana Gov. Steve Bullock will speak, as will Missoula County Commissioner Jean Curtiss, Missoula Mayor John Engen, and Post No. 101 Adjutant Dan Gallagher, the ceremony organizer. The event has been moved indoors because of the bitterly cold weather.
This year’s theme is “Every War Has Its Beginning, But Does It Ever Really End?” Following the ceremony, free meals of "creamed chipped beef on toast" ("SOS") will be provided to all veterans, their families and others attending the ceremony at the Old Post Pub, 103 W. Spruce St.
Breakfast will be served Tuesday at American Legion Post 27, 845 Ronan St., starting at 7 a.m. Donations will be accepted at the door.
Missoula VFW Post 209, 245 W. Main St., also will host a breakfast, cooked by members of the post, from 7 to 11 a.m. Donations to help defray the cost of food are accepted but not necessary.
A free service is set for 3 p.m. Tuesday at Grizzly Peak, 3600 American Way. Residents will dedicate an American flag that flew over an Afghanistan base staffed by the Montana Army National Guard's 143rd unit. A concert with the Trillium Brass Trio will begin at 3 p.m., followed by the service at 3:30 p.m. Keynote speaker is Maj. Gen. Matthew Quinn of the Montana Army National Guard with honor and color guards from American Legion Post 27, VFW Post 209, Missoula Civil Air Patrol, Knights of Columbus Patriotic Order and ROTC Color Guard from University of Montana. The event is organized by United Veterans Council of Ravalli and Missoula Counties. Call 251-5116.
The Springs at Missoula retirement village on American Way will honor veterans with a champagne dinner and dance from 5 to 6:30 p.m. All veterans will receive a small gift. The cost is $10 to cover the cost of the meal; RSVP by Monday by calling 273-0101.
The Historical Museum at Fort Missoula will be open Tuesday from noon to 5 p.m. with free admission for all veterans and those currently serving. Current exhibits include “Growing the Garden City: Missoula’s First 150 Years,” “The Road to Today: 250 Years of Missoula County History” and “The Missoula Camera Club.”
Entrance fees to Glacier National Park will be waived Tuesday in honor of those that serve and have served in the military. Glacier, as well as the other 400 sites of the National Park System, offers a free annual pass to active duty military members and their dependents. The annual pass allows free entrance to national parks and other federal recreation sites. It can be obtained at parks headquarters or any staffed park entrance station. A current and valid military identification card must be presented to obtain the pass. More information is available atnps.gov/findapark/passes.htm or by calling (406) 888-7800.
A Veterans Day observance will take place at 2 p.m. Tuesday at the Ravalli County Museum, 205 Bedford St., in Hamilton. The 25th annual observance begins with a laying of wreaths, rifle salute and a performance of taps in front of the Dough Boy statue. The program continues in the museum with recollections of veterans, tributes and music, surrounded by an array of military memorabilia. Call 363-3338.
The following events are scheduled Tuesday in Stevensville:
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• All veterans are invited to a free breakfast at 7:45 a.m. at Lone Rock School.
• American Legion Post 94 will visit with veterans and post colors at The Living Centre at 11:30 a.m.
• A special program will be held at 2:30 p.m. at the Stevensville High School gym.
• The annual Veterans Day dinner will be held at 6:30 p.m. at the American Legion Hall three miles east of town on Middle Burnt Fork Road. The potluck is open to all veterans and their families; no membership required. Post 94 and Auxiliary will provide meat, rolls, soft drinks and dessert. Featured guests will be the Boys State and Girls State delegates.
• The Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter No. 938 has organized an event that includes a free public concert in the Hamilton Performing Arts Center from 3:30-4:45 p.m. The concert will feature choirs from Corvallis and Hamilton high schools, the Montana a Cappella Society, Celtic Pipes and Drums, a children’s choir, Doug Hogan and Remi Gitz, Aaron “Driftin” Poff, a Tae Kwon Do group and local rising singing star Annemarie Barnes. It will be followed by a dinner catered by Café Firenze. For more information, call 375-5196 or 363-5399.
Corvallis Middle School is focusing on education and appreciation. Rich Durgan is the CMS principal. “In addition to some lessons in our social studies classes, the fifth-graders will be writing letters to those who served,” said Durgan. “I am also hoping to get the entire middle school to attend the ceremony/march that takes place at 11 a.m. [down Main Street, Corvallis].
Hamilton Middle School is honoring veterans at a school assembly Tuesday, which begins at 1:30 p.m. with rewards for good behavior and sports and then the Veterans Celebration at approximately 1:50 p.m. Vickie Dickerson, Hamilton Middle School vice principal, said they are honoring veterans.
Florence School is hosting a special Veterans Day celebration from 10:45-11:15 a.m. Audrey Backus, middle school/high school principal, said the public is invited. “There will be performances by the Florence-Carlton band and choir and we are proud to welcome Max Carpenter as our guest speaker,” said Backus. “It will be great time to honor our men and women who have served and are currently serving. Any member of the community is welcome to attend this patriotic assembly.” Florence-Carlton School is at 5602 Old Highway 93.
Darby schools are having an assembly on Nov. 11 at 10 a.m. to honor the veterans. It is being organized by faculty member Alex Petrusaitis and the guest speaker is Roch Turner, Navy/Petty Officer 2nd Class Intelligence Specialist, 1997-2003. Turner spent four years as a Shipboard Imagery Analyst and two years as a Signals Analyst for NATO. For more information call Darby High School - 821-3252.
Victor is planning a Veterans Day celebration organized by the high school and middle school student councils, and invites all veterans and their families to join them at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 11.
Juliana Ugalde, VHS Student Council advisor said, “We want to get as many people to come as possible - the more the merrier. There will be a pasta dinner and homemade desserts for all who attend at 5 p.m. in the multipurpose room,” said Ugalde. “Donations are more than welcome. If you are interested in coming please call to let us know how many you will be bringing.”
The celebration will move to the Mary Stewart Rogers Performing Arts Center at 7 p.m., where the Victor school band will hold a concert and veterans are invited to share their stories.