Letter to the Editor

It has been a privilege to watch the progress as the Northeast Montana Veterans Memorial takes shape in Fort Peck. This summer, with the help of some heavy equipment, cleared and leveled ground gave way to the 38-foot high main monument, 10 walls of honor, pathways, and bases for sculptures. The dedication on May 29, 2016, will fulfill five years of planning and work by scores of Northeast Montana volunteers.

On that day next May, nearly 900 black granite tiles carrying the names of veterans and their branch of service should be placed on the Walls of Honor. The American flag, state of Montana, POW flags, and one for each branch of service will surround the main monument. An entry sign will lead visitors to an entry kiosk topped with a freedom eagle sculpture. Beginning landscaping of sod, trees, and shrubs should be in place.

All the bills are paid, no money is owed, and the budget is on target and expected to stay that way through all of Phase #1.

When the Memorial is dedicated, will it be fully functional? Yes. Will it be complete? No. There are still goals to be met to fully complete the site. Under consideration are KIA and MIA vigil areas, a water feature, and additional sculptures. A Wall of Honor directory and a Taps bugler sculpture created by Pamela Harr and Harvey Rattey are in future plans.

We sincerely hope the friends of this memorial will keep this project in mind when planning Holiday giving. Wall of Honor tiles make a perfect holiday gift for a veteran. We have room for 2,800 more tiles on existing Walls. Applications are available on line and at most area banks. All veterans from all branches of service, including National Guard and Reserves, can be honored on the Wall. Any veteran who is important to a NE Montana resident can be included on the Wall regardless of where they live. A qualified Veteran is anyone who has served at least 6 months and has been honorably discharged.

We should also note that benches, tables, flags, and signs are available for sponsorship and are appropriate donations for individuals and organizations. Donations are still extremely important and especially welcome.

Despite the loss of some of our veterans, the Northeast Montana Veterans Memorial preserves a loving memory, showing the highest respect and honor for the sacrifices of all veterans. It forever preserves our appreciation, and gives appropriate honor to their service.

It has been our goal to work on behalf of all veterans, and to do this memorial right.

Our intention is also to provide this memorial as an educational resource for future generations.

- Steve Page and Tom Markle, Co-Chairs.


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