Several generations of soldiers, some active duty, but most retired, along with dozens of onlookers, gathered near the Doughboy statue on the grounds of the Missoula County Courthouse to honor their fallen brethren on Memorial Day, 2015.

photo by Peter Christian

After Korean War veteran Ray Doty recited the Gettysburg Address, Army National Guard Captain Aaron Flint took the microphone to share his experiences of being the host of "Voices of Montana' radio talk show, based out of Billings, but airing here in Missoula on AM-930 KMPT. Flint said part of his job is to interview Gold Star families, those who have lost loved ones in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. One mother made it clear that she did not want to be interviewed, until Flint revealed that he himself had also fought in Ramadi.

"I'll never forget what that Gold Star mom said when I told her that I had served in Anbar Province," Flint said. "She said quote 'you need to feel blessed to know that you were touched on the shoulder by the hand of God and asked to serve on that mission'. Those of us who served in Iraq and Afghanistan or elsewhere have had the honor to serve alongside the greatest men and women America has to offer, and that is why were are here, to honor the fallen."

Flint closed his address by quoting the words of Abraham Lincoln.

"A nation that does not honor its heroes, will not long endure."

And so, the services continued throughout the day, sponsored by the United Veterans Council, ending at the newly created Iraq and Afghanistan Memorial on the University of Montana campus.

At about one in ten, Montana has one of the highest percentages of veterans in the United States.