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Every year on Nov. 11, veterans are remembered and honored around the world. In Valier, one special veteran is on the minds of fellow servicemen as they attend any meeting of their local American Legion Post.

As seniors partook of a special turkey dinner on Nov. 10, Senior Citizen Center Director Linda Kuka included Veterans Day recognition a day early. She reported that 85 meals were prepared, 36 of which were provided at no charge to local veterans.

Tom VandenBos offered the prayer in his role as Legion Chaplain. Keith Stark is Commander of the Emmett Ryan American Legion Post #36. Keith explained, “Veterans Day, Nov. 11th is set aside each year to honor all veterans. Before 1954 Veterans Day was called Armistice Day, recognizing the agreement that ended World War I on Nov. 11, 1918.”

He continued, “Today I want to talk a little about a Valier man who grew up on a ranch west oftown. He never married nor had any children. He had one sibling, a brother, but I don’t believe the brother had children either. His parents were both deaf, probably from a childhood illness.”

Commander Stark admitted that, “Those are things I have heard, but are not written, so basically hearsay and might be wrong.”

A paragraph from Harvest of Memories: Historical Events of Valier, Montana reads, “Emmett Ryan enlisted at Valier on June 21, 1916, Company D, 163 rd Infantry Montana. He served overseas from December 15, 1917 until he died of wounds received in action on Nov. 11, 1918, Armistice Day. The local reporter said, “Mr. Ryan was a splendid young man and was greatly admired by everyone.”

“When Veterans Day comes around,” Commander Stark shared, “I always think of him and the significance of that date. We only have a picture and a few written words. And even though we have our American Legion Post named in honor of him, I would like all of us to help keep the memory of him alive. Basically be the family he would never have. No Valier resident should ever be able to ask, ‘Who is Emmett Ryan?’ It should also give a poignant reminder that there are those who gave so much in service to this country, the United States of America.”

Ryan, like many who served and were lost, was never able to fully enjoy the life experiences that he fought and gave his life to preserve. As we pursue our hopes and dreams it is fitting that we take some time, even a designated day, to remember those who have served. Whether called upon to give their lives or to return, we thank all veterans for their sacrifice on our behalf.

Note: A copy of “Harvest of Memories” is available in the Valier Public Library.

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