BOZEMAN – A flag in the sky, soon joined by squadrons of airmen, flew over Sunset Hills Cemetery on Monday, filled with those paying their respects below.
“The honor, the remembrance of our veterans who have served and the sacrifices they have made, it says a lot about who we are,” says Rick Gale, Vietnam veteran.
From the celebration and parade to the quiet prayers at vigils, Memorial Day is there for us to remember the fallen.
“Brothers. Sisters,” said Gallatin County Sheriff’s chaplain Randy Jones during the ceremony. “Sons and daughters.”
The chaplain was among them.
“Those men and women, they gave their lives for our country,” Jones said.
Each ring of the bell stood for soldiers who lost their lives in battle, no matter which war, bringing back memories and stories from veterans like Gale.
“I was having a conversation with a volunteer who told me about two Marines showing up on the same day, looking for each other on the wall,” he said. “Fifteen years later, they found each other.”
Gold Star families were also honored, given yellow flowers.
One after another, their families took their flowers and laid them at the wall, including Staff Sergeant Travis Atkins’ mother and the nephew of Private William Boegli, who was recently returned to Bozeman after being killed in World War II.
“It is a very special valley that we live in with a lot of support for veterans,” Gale said.
The meaning of Memorial Day resonates differently with each person, with each memory.
That is the same here.
“Oh, beautiful for heroes, proved in liberating strife who more than self their country loved, and mercy more than life. America,” Jones said, quoting “America, the Beautiful.”
Reporting by Cody Boyer for MTN News