KALISPELL — It was a morning to pay thanks and respect to veterans across the Flathead during a special ceremony Thursday at Kalispell’s Depot Park.
“We want to honor everyone who’s served and that’s what this memorial is for, we want to give everyone the thanks that they deserve for serving our country,” United Veterans of the Flathead Valley Honor Guard Captain and Navy Veteran Mary Lou Fitzpatrick told MTN News.
A large crowd gathered for the annual Veterans Day Ceremony hosted by the United Veterans of the Flathead Valley. United Veterans are a non-profit organization consisting of 25 volunteers known for performing military funeral honors in the Flathead Valley.
The ceremony included a Veterans Day address, honor guard ceremony, patriotic music and more.
Fitzpatrick said she’s proud of the way Flathead residents show support for veterans. She said there’s always new opportunities to help veterans year-round.
“Talk to the local VFW, the American Legion, there’s a variety, the Veteran Center on Meridian there has a lot of opportunities for people to volunteer, I know you can give rides to veterans to medical appointments and different things, so there’s a variety of ways to help people out,” added Fitzpatrick
Montana veteran Tom Rozinka — who started serving his country in 1958 — said the way veterans are treated has changed a lot over the years.
“Sometimes you have people buy you a meal that’s one thing I’ve had happen to me before, you know it’s very nice and now you get complimented, I was in the reserves in the Vietnam era and people spit on you, now you get lots of thank yous, that’s something you really appreciate,” said Rozinka.