Veterans Memorial Flags

US-2 at I-15
Shelby, Toole County, Montana


 "Veterans Memorial Flag"



Tour Notes

These notes could easily turn into a long rant about the general lack of respect allowed our veterans by most US residents. Instead, I will explain that this particular memorial did not begin as a publicly funded monument, nor did it spring from the minds and coffers of any veterans service club. One local veteran talked with another, who talked with yet another and from there grew the first part of this monument. It is a gathering of flags on a high hill near the intersection of US Route 2 and Interstate Route 15. Seen from miles away, they can inspire travelers to the best thoughts of union and service. They can bring memories of a life far behind or yet to be experienced. It is all about perspective.

A second part of the memorial area, an Iwo Jima commemorative and collection of paving bricks has been installed. The fallen are remembered with earthen color bricks.

A name, date and location.  That data and the color of the brick are the only clues that a local son or daughter has fallen in service. With a little research I can give some general details of how the loss occurred. At Beruit, Lebanon, eight of our young Marines were killed in a small arms firefight when a motar shell landed on their gun emplacement. VietNam 1969, an Army Recon patrol was ambushed at a rice paddy. The 60th Infantry of the 9th Division spent the cold winter of 1944-45 fighting into Germany. And stepping forward to our current involvement in Iraq, a young man whose desire to serve culminated in the posthumous award of the Medal of Honor. He shielded his men from the effects of a suicide bomb blast.

The common thread here? All are honored as friends, comrades, or loved ones. It's a personal remembrance, not a list of unknown men and women curated from a dusty record. The best memorials start this way - as homage to those who shared service experiences. Each left home as a naive recruit and some returned years later as mature veterans with stories not easily shared with everyone. 

I take the photos, pause a moment, then move on toward the next town on the list. There are so many more stories to uncover and tell to those who will never undertake erecting a monument to strangers in uniform. 




Locations Visited