By Ron VandenBoom
Several dozen American Flags were unfurled around the walkways on the west lawn of the Hill County Courthouse Monday for the annual Memorial Day services presented by Havre veterans organizations and their auxiliaries.
More than 200 spectators stood silently along Third Avenue and Fourth Street as representatives of the American Legion, VFW, and their auxiliaries joined their Canadian counterparts from Red Cliff and Medicine Hat in paying solemn tribute to their fallen comrades.
Each organization in turn placed wreaths at the Veterans Memorial on the corner of Third Avenue and Fourth Street.
Unique to this years memorial service was the planting of a veterans memorial tree.
This tree is dedicated to all veterans of all wars from the Revolutionary War to the present day, said Rob Murphy, incoming quartermaster for VFW Post 497 in Havre. May their service and dedication never be forgotten.
A 21 gun salute and the playing of taps concluded the outdoor portion of the services and the crowd moved to the VFW Club to hear poems, musical selections and a keynote address by Murphy.
Today is a day of remembering, but remembering can be a curse when youve spent years trying to forget, Murphy said as he cited a line from a work by author James Leight called What Ill be doing for Memorial Day.
Murphy read several portions of Leights work describing his life in Vietnam and the memories he had of the experience.
He described an experience of regret for not being able to remember all of the names of those who died while vividly remembering a few.
He described the heat, the rain, and the fear that molded the way he lived and the memories he brought home from the experience.
He concluded by saying remember, remember, remember, for Gods sake remember.
Murphy extolled those attending the services to not wait until the veteran is gone to say thanks.
Not only do we want to remember and thank those that are gone but we should thank those who are among us now before they are gone, he said.
A free beef stew lunch was served following the service.