MISSOULA - Dozens of ceremonies took place in Western Montana to remember those who have fallen on Memorial Day.
American Legion Post 207 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 209 hosted the events which began at the Western Montana State Veterans Cemetery and ended at the University of Montana.
Organizers said they aimed to show military support across the city.
The main ceremony was held at the Western Montana State Veterans Cemetery at noon, with a flyover of the historic plane “Miss Montana” and the laying of wreaths in remembrance of fallen service members.
US Navy and US Army veteran Jack Babon said they do this each year because it honors their sacrifice.
“We have the freedoms because of what they’ve done. They left it on the field 100%. We cannot repay that except appreciate what they’ve done, show up to places like this, and pass that on to the next generation.”
Earlier Monday, another wreath-laying ceremony happened at the Doughboy Statue in front of the Missoula County Courthouse. World War II veteran Ron Scharfe laid the first wreath and said Memorial Day is an excellent reminder to reflect on the sacrifices given for individual freedoms.
“Just don’t forget us, forget the sacrifices that were made,” Scharf said. “There’s still a few of us above ground, so we’re here to remember for them.”
Forging a birth certificate, the now-95-year-old Scharfe, joined the US Navy at 16 and fought in the Pacific Theater, including a brutal campaign on the island of Iwo Jima. He makes a point every Memorial Day to take a moment for his brothers because he doesn’t want them to be forgotten.
“I’m here to pay respect to my brothers who didn’t make it back,” Scharfe said. “To me it was all luck, but, our country is the greatest in the world and there’s a lot of sacrifices for it.”