CORRECTION: This event is on WEDNESDAY, not Memorial Day Monday: Whitefish Legacy Partners and the Kalispell Veterans Center are hosting a 2 to 3 mile community hike starting at the Swift Creek Trailhead at 6 p.m.
Cities and towns across Montana are holding events to remember those who died while serving in the armed forces this Memorial Day.
Corvallis American Legion historian Doug Mason says thousands of people line the main street in that town each Memorial Day. This year’s 98th annual parade will include parachutes, a visit from Miss Montana, and campaigning politicians starting at 10 a.m.
But, Mason says, while the parade brings people together, there’s more to the day.
“It all happens for the community. The community all comes out. They really support us. But for most of the veterans, we’re all kind of thinking of the men and women who went before us. And we’re just kind of tipping our hat to them.”
After the parade, there will be a ceremony at the Corvallis Cemetery that includes reading the names of all of the veterans buried there. Mason, who left the military 20 years ago, will lead the ceremony.
“It’s a long day, but it’s a really fulfilling day," he says.
Bozeman, East Helena, and Polson are also hosting parades on Monday.
Hamilton’s American Legion will hold three ceremonies of military honors, starting outside the Ravalli County Museum at 8 a.m, moving to the West Main Street bridge for a wreath laying ceremony in the Bitterroot River, then to the Riverview Cemetery.
In the Flathead Valley, the United Veterans have ceremonies planned at cemeteries in Bigfork, Lone Pine, Conrad and Columbia Falls.
On Wednesday, Whitefish Legacy Partners and the Kalispell Veterans Center are hosting a 2 to 3 mile community hike starting at the Swift Creek Trailhead at 6 p.m.
Missoula’s City Cemetery will open at 8 a.m. for visitors to place flowers and decorations on graves. Parts of the grounds will be lined with flags and the American Legion Honor Guard will have a rifle salute between noon and 3:00 p.m. at the Veteran Monument.
Cemetery administrative manager Mary Ellen Stubb said Memorial Day weekend and the weekend before are the busiest of the year.
“It’s wonderful," Stubb says. "I mean, it’s quite the weekend. Unless you experience it, you can’t get the feel for it.”
In Butte, the United Veterans’ Council will hold memorial services starting at 10 a.m. at the Butte Silver Bow Courthouse with Senator Jon Tester giving the keynote address.
The Montana Veterans Cemetery at Fort Harrison in will host a ceremony at noon on Wednesday, May 30. That’s the former official date for Memorial Day. Also on May 30, there will be a ceremony at the Lewis and Clark County Veterans Memorial at 3 p.m.