Saluting The Fallen
Glasgow Joins National Observance Of Memorial Day
Samar Fay / The Courier
On Sunday, in preparation for Memorial Day, Amos Erickson and about 35 other volunteers placed 905 American flags on the graves of veterans at Highland Cemetery. This is an increase of about 60 from the number placed two years ago. Sixty-five blue flags were also placed on the graves of VFW Auxiliary members.
Valley County residents joined many others across America in a ceremony of remembrance on Monday, Memorial Day. They met in the Civic Center to honor those in the military who have died in the service of their country. Connie Schultz, who retired from the Army Nurse Corps as a lieutenant colonel, was the keynote speaker.
“Memorial Day is not just about picnics,” she said. Schultz talked about the many ways to remember the fallen, now numbering one million men and women since the beginning of the republic. It can be with traditional ceremonies, like the laying of wreaths at the foot of the flag and the moving music provided by the Glasgow High School Band and the EQ Singers. And it is done in new ways, like the Vietnam Memorial Foundation website, where friends and family can write remembrances.
She described how a galley in the Navy can have a missing man table. One she saw in San Diego had six place settings, for all five branches of service and civilians who serve the military. A single red rose symbolized the families and friends who wait. A slice of lemon was for bitterness. Salt represented tears. Inverted glasses were for their inability to share a toast with the living. The chairs remain empty.
The list of dead from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars is now 6,695, Schultz said, with 50,800 wounded and more than 130,000 suffering from the invisible wounds of PTSD. Sadly, nearly two dozen service members commit suicide every day.
Women make up 2.5 percent of the casualties of this war.
“This is a new thing for us,” Schultz said.
She travels to Washington, D.C ., nearly every year on business, and visits the World War II, Vietnam and Women’s memorials. She always goes to Arlington Cemetery, where they have opened a new section for the casualties from Iraq and Afghanistan.
Samar Fay / The Courier
Some of Montana’s oldest veterans are getting the opportunity to visit these monuments too. The Honor Flights for WWII vets, started in 2005, have now taken 63,000 to Washington free of charge. In the Big Sky, we have sent our fourth Honor Flight of 84 veterans.
“This honors them and helps them pay tribute to their comrades,” Schultz said “Those who never came back are the real heroes.”
Art Widhalm of VFW Post # 3107 presented Brad Persinger, the music director of Glasgow High School, with the 2012-2013 District and Montana Teacher of the Year Award for his promotion of citizenship education.