In today’s (June 4) Missoulian I read that it is 75 years since D-Day. Yesterday, not realizing that an anniversary was about to occur, I stopped and looked at the World War II monument near the Missoula County Courthouse on Broadway and took a photo. There, in raised letters on tarnished brass, are the names of 164 men from Missoula County who died in the war.
A quick look at the 1940 census indicates that this would amount to 0.6% of the general population (29,038) of the county at that time. For my home county of Carter, I found through the archives that 22 are listed as not returning. This would be 0.7% of the county’s 1940 population of 3,280. Among this number was an uncle I never met, killed in action in Germany in April 1945. For the Army, the archives indicate that for Montana, 4.53% of the force failed to return to the Treasure State. Truly there was extreme sacrifice.
But let’s remember who we were fighting. It was right-wing extremists (technically fascists) from three countries. I always try to remember that and not try not to take it for granted.