The Montana Veterans Memorial Flag majestically waves from the hilltop as a reminder of those who have selflessly served our country and in honor of their bravery.  Anyone wishing to help support the memorial flag can send their donation to Montana Veterans Memorial Flag, c/o Dave Sandon, P.O. Box 56, Sunburst, MT 59482. 

Election Day has come and gone and folks are already looking forward to preparing for Thanksgiving and Christmas. But, before  residents get ahead of themselves, everyone should take a moment and to remember Veterans Day. Today, which is the 11th day, of the 11th month, is the day dedicated to those who have so selflessly given of themselves. This is the one day out of the year to thank those who have sacrificed more than most can imagine. 

With COVID-19 still running rampant, many assemblies and programs recognizing our veterans have been cancelled. The Shelby High School Student Council and the Prairie Peddler teamed up to recognize veterans, with the Prairie Peddler offering veterans a free coffee with cinnamon rolls, provided by TLC Catering and paid for by the Shelby High School Student Council earlier this morning, Wednesday, Nov. 11. 

While handshaking and hugs are off limits this year, there is another way to show your appreciation to our veterans–donating to the Montana Veterans Memorial Flag. The memorial was created 15 years ago and has been maintained by area veterans. 

“We tried to not make this a burden on the community,” said Bob Longcake. “Our major funding source has been the memorial bricks for veterans. Brick sales have dropped off and we ended up doing a lot of maintenance this year. We changed to LED lights and re-hung gates.”

Longcake explained the severe winds in the Golden Triangle area have put a twist on the cable inside the pole. At the very least the cable will need to be fixed and possibly the wench as well. The site also goes through three flags a year, with each flag costing $1,500. 

The Montana Veterans Memorial Flag is a memorial for all veterans, not just those from Shelby. Veterans are from surrounding areas, everywhere from Lethbridge, Alberta, to Sweet Grass to Great Falls, Browning, Cut Bank, Valier, Galata and Conrad. The group is part of the Toole County Community Foundation, a 501(c) 3 corporation, so those donating are eligible for a tax write-off.

“Bricks for veterans are $400. Any veteran is eligible to have one, we simply need some proof of service, such as a DD 2 14,” said Longcake. “Any vet from anywhere is welcome. People can also purchase a memorial brick for non-veterans to be put on the donor board for $500.”

If you would like to make a contribution but purchasing a brick is out of your price range, your help and support is still needed and appreciated. Anyone wanting to donate money can do so by sending a check to Montana Veterans Memorial Flag, c/o Dave Sandon, P.O. Box 56, Sunburst, MT 59482. 

“This is the first time we have done this since construction of the flag memorial 15 years ago,” said Longcake. “We sell bricks to veterans and place the money into an endowment fund. We only spend the interest off of this fund for our annual budget. Budgeted annual costs are $6,000. We have done some major improvements to the lights and site this year and need to strengthen our budget.”

As a way of saying “thank you,” you can help do that by contributing. While there won’t be any gatherings allowing you to show your appreciation this Veterans day, this is the best way to show your support and honor our veterans not only this year, but in years to come as the flag continues to fly high over the land of the free, because of the brave.

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