MISSOULA – Fort Missoula celebrated Veterans Day and the World War I centennial in a big way on Sunday.
Fort Missoula hosts gatherings to commemorate the holiday every year, but this year saw more events and speakers than usual because of the anniversary of the end of World War I.
Rocky Mountain Museum Executive Director Tate Jones said he is honored to be a part of the celebration.
“This year is especially special because it’s the end of a very large conflict the US was involved in so we try to bring out all the stops for this one.,” Jones said.
Fort Missoula was established by settlers in 1877 as a permanent military post. Now, the area is home to multiple historical museums dedicated to local and military history.
Montana Secretary of State, Corey Stapleton and Montana General Matt Quinn were among the speakers at Sunday’s event.
“It’s just important to reflect on what veterans have done for our country today, and also the results of these conflicts,” Jones said.
“Perhaps we could learn some lessons from history today about their validity and importance in our life,” he added.
American Legion Posts nationwide rang their bells 21 times at 11 a.m. on Sunday in memory of the signing of the armistice that ended WWI.
Retired Sergeant First Class Linda Johnson, who served in the medical division of the U.S. Army in Helena for 23 years, asked if she could be the one to ring the bell.
“I appreciate the people who are going to be coming out here to see this, and to remember veterans day and all those who were killed — be it World War I, [World War} II or any other conflict — and all those who have served and are retired to remember all veterans,” Johnson said.
Johnson is a board member at the Rocky Mountain Museum and comes from a military family.
“My father served for 30 years active duty [and] in World War II, so it’s always been in me to honor veterans, to serve in the military. I have a high respect for all people who have served and are serving, and for this museum,” Johnson said.
Johnson and Jones said they were thankful for everyone who has served in the US military and all those who came out to pay their respects.
-Katie Miller reporting for MTN News