An Awesome, Inspiring Day: Dedication of the Western Montana Veteran’s Cemetery

by jhwygirl

I attended the dedication this afternoon of the Western Montana Veteran’s Cemetery. A crowd somewhere between 400 to 500 people attended, of all ages – veterans of all service branches, of many wars, and of all ranks. It was a truly moving event, set with a background of a tragic day in American history.

I missed bringing my camera – and if anyone has pictures, I’d love to post them, so please email me if you have them.

I walked into the service with a friend of mine – a veteran of the Iraq War. We have spoke many times about that war and the war in Afghanistan…and just plain lots of politics in general. As we walked towards the ceremony – running a tad bit late – a cannon shot pierced the air. He was halted, obviously shaken. His reaction lasted longer than I would have expected. While I’ve always recognized his service and sacrifice as something that is an absolute selfless gift to me and all Americans, the affect of that cannon shot was a stark reminder for me of one of the things his service means for him. Every day.

That brief moment won’t be leaving me.

Lt. Governor Bohlinger was the first speaker. He spoke quite eloquently about his service in the Marines – but he did speak at length about Specialist Chris Dana, 23, of Helena. Dana committed suicide in March 2007. His death was a watershed moment for the Montana National Guard, and Montana now has one of the fines mental health support systems, throughout the state, for veterans of all wars. His family speaks openly of Dana’s tragic death.

Bohlinger spoke of the commitment that we – Americans – have to veterans – how it doesn’t stop once they get home, and how it is our responsibility to ensure that even unseen wounds need to have care. Bohlinger pointed out that even today’s dedication of the Veteran’s Cemetery is an example of the commitment that is deserved for those who have served.

There were many speakers – I apologize for not speaking to them all.

A 21-gun salute, taps, and bagpipes closed the ceremony.

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  1. 1 Text of Lt. Gov. John Bohlinger’s Speech at the Dedication of the Veteran’s Cemetery « 4&20 blackbirds

    […] mentioned last week that I attended the dedication of the Western Montana Veteran’s Cemetery, and how Lt. Governor John Bohlinger spoke eloquently about war and its impact on soldiers and […]




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