Traditions to Embrace

The Christmas season seems to bring out traditions in our families and in our culture that have been around for years. The following story, which was first printed in the Big Timber Pioneer more than twenty years ago, includes the experiences of several people during World War II. Each person has a connection to Montana and each person has a different perspective. Two of those interviewed have passed away since this article was first published, but their words help us remember what it was like all those years ago when we leaned on our traditions to help us through difficult times.

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Vincent Charley, Farrier, Troop D, 7th Cavalry

By John O’Connell, Montana Historian Magazine

Last Stand Hill – Battle of the Little Bighorn, Montana

Visiting any battlefield can be a spiritual experience, which was the case for me the first time I visited the Little Bighorn Battlefield. So many things struck me that day, and one of them was when I was driving up from the Reno-Benteen site going to Weir’s Point. I spotted a lone soldier marker near the road that had a pull off area. Curious, I pulled in, walked to the marker and saw the words inscribed on that marker: Vincent Charles, Farrier.

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Veterans Day: Over 100 Years of Commemoration and Honor

Dad’s dog tags he wore while serving in Italy and North Africa during World War II in the US Army Air Force. Living and working in Great Falls at the time he left, his father’s address in Stanford is listed on his tags. (O’Connell Photo)

By Kerry O’Connell, Montana Historian Magazine

“Thank you for your service.” That is the phrase that comes to mind when you see someone in a military uniform. They are merely words that we are conditioned to say. Are words truly enough? How exactly do we respect our veterans, offer them an understanding of what they went through during their tenure in the military? Veterans Day originated 101 years ago to honor all the men and women who have served and some of us still struggle with a heartfelt way to show appreciation.

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Montanans and the American Revolution

By John Rice, MTSSAR, Don Reed, MTSSAR, and Kerry O’Connell, Montana Historian Magazine

Wreaths Across America took place in December of 2019 in the Capital Rotunda. Those in attendance were (from left to right) Don Reed (MTSSAR), Keith Kramlick (MTSSAR), Brigadier General Jeffrey Ireland, Jane Hammond (MTSDAR), Warren Dupuis (MTSSAR), and Doug Fraser (MTSSAR). (Photo courtesy of Shirley Herrin)

One of the joys for us at Montana Historian Magazine, is the connections that we make. Connections with those who know history, appreciate history, share history, and research history. We’ve written before about the threads of stories that are woven into Montana’s rich heritage. Many Civil War veterans have stamped their legacy in our stories of vigilantes that helped form the state that we call home.

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Primal in the Grass

By John O’Connell, Montana Historian Magazine

O’Connell photo

We at Montana Historian recently returned from an overnight trip to Yellowstone Park and Island Park, Idaho. I had an idea about an article. Yellowstone tourists and railroads. We discovered it’s a large topic and we needed to break it down into smaller bites for our readers. To that end we focused on the Union Pacific Railroad line from Saint Anthony, Idaho to West Yellowstone, Montana and how their transportation of tourists helped change this part of Montana forever.

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Book Review: We Pointed Them North

Book Review written by John O’Connell, Montana Historian Magazine

E.C. “Teddy Blue” Abbott

As a farrier I traveled all over south central Montana and beyond. From indoor arenas to dude ranches, 4-H projects to cattle ranches, I worked on a lot of different horses who belonged to all kinds of people. Good horsemen and horsewomen are rare, but I met a few. They understand how horses think. They can read body language and can train a horse to be polite, respectful and trustworthy. Those horses were a joy to work with and I have fond memories of them.

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The 442nd Regimental Combat Team: “Go For Broke!”

By Kerry O’Connell, Montana Historian Magazine

Some of the most fascinating examples of human gallantry and sacrifice are ones that we may never know about. In January of 2020, a friend of mine who happens to be an Asian American, invited me to Three Forks for a memorial dedication. My friend, David Chung, is a Vietnam Veteran and had been invited to speak at the dedication due to his involvement with the Department of Montana Military Order of the Purple Heart (find them on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/MontanaPurpleHeart/).

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The Vigilantes of Virginia City, Montana: A Tale of Old West Justice

By John O’Connell, Montana Historian Magazine

My wife Kerry and I took a day trip last week to Virginia City to do a little research and relax a bit. After lunch, we went in different directions and I wandered up Wallace Street where I found the Hangman’s Building. This is where the Virginia City Vigilance Committee hanged five men from a large beam in the then unfinished building on January 14, 1864.

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