“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.
By John Rice, MTSSAR, Don Reed, MTSSAR, and Kerry O’Connell, MontanaHistorian.com
One of the joys for us at MontanaHistorian.com, 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.
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/).
When most of us think of Montana connections with our nation’s Civil War I would bet that nothing much comes to mind. After all, we didn’t even become an organized territory until 1864. The Confederate Army didn’t come within a thousand miles of Montana and what Federal troops that were here were preoccupied with chasing the Lakota along the Yellowstone River and in the Powder River country. That’s not to say the Civil War didn’t touch Montana.