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AARP AARP States Montana Veterans

AARP Montana Honors Veterans with Flagpole Dedication and Ceremony at the Montana Veterans’ Home Cemetery in Columbia Falls 

Special Community Event Scheduled on May 27 at 2 pm

Helena, Mont., May 22, 2018 –The Stars and Stripes will soon fly over the west end of the Montana Veterans’ Home Cemetery in Columbia Falls. The 121 year-old cemetery is receiving an additional American flag.


Funds donated by AARP Montana helped to make this important project a reality.  The flagpole dedication ceremony for the Montana Veterans’ Home Cemetery is on Sunday, May 27 at 2:00 pm.  Hosting the dedication will be The American Legion Post 72, Columbia Falls, and the Vietnam Veterans of America, NW Montana Chapter 1087.  The public and the media are invited and encouraged to attend.

“Raising the flag over this hallowed ground is a symbol of our gratitude and respect for all those who answered the call -- and served and sacrificed to preserve our freedoms” said AARP Montana State Director Tim Summers.  “AARP Montana is honored to participate in this historic effort -- and to be a part of this ceremony that honors our veterans.   I trust that all who look upon this flag today, tomorrow and for countless years to come will remember the selfless service of those who protect us every day.”

Originally called the Montana State Soldiers' Home, the Montana Veterans' Home has served veterans since 1896.  The mission of the home is "to honor the service of Montana’s veterans by serving them in turn in their time of need." The cemetery was established in 1897.

The founding of the Montana Veterans' Home owes much to The Grand Army of the Republic and Montana Governor J.B. Rickards.  Together, they persuaded the state Legislature to establish the home at a time when over 2,500 Civil War veterans lived in Montana.

The Northern International Improvement Company (at the time, a subsidiary of the Great Northern Railway) donated 147 acres of land -- and the citizens of Columbia Falls helped to build the Home.

Through its earliest years, the veterans’ home campus was largely a self-sufficient community. Employees and residents grew vegetables in gardens and raised livestock. The grounds were meticulously landscaped. Early residents had to prove that they could not afford to live anyplace else.   In addition, those early residents had to forfeit two-thirds of their military pension or other income to live at the home.

The cemetery at the Home holds graves of those who served in every conflict since the Civil War.  The soldiers who rest there include veterans of the Civil War, The Spanish American War, WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam and the Mid-East conflicts.

Memorial Day is a day set aside to honor the men and woman who died while serving in the U.S. military.  The holiday was informally established in 1868, three years after the Civil War, to honor those who lost their lives during that conflict.  It was originally called Decoration Day and was an opportunity to decorate the graves of military veterans with flowers.

According to legend, May was picked because flowers are in bloom all over the country. The holiday was later dubbed Memorial Day and it became an official United States Holiday in 1971.

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Montana Veterans’ Home Cemetery -- Flagpole Dedication Ceremony -- Quick Glance Details:


WHAT:            Flagpole Dedication Ceremony for the Montana Veterans’ Home Cemetery


WHO:              The American Legion Post 72, Columbia Falls
Vietnam Veterans of America, NW Montana Chapter 1087
AARP Montana
Community Partners
Members of the public and the media are invited to attend


WHEN:           2:00 PM, Sunday, May 27, 2018


WHERE:          Montana Veterans’ Home Cemetery
Talbot Road, Columbia Falls, Flathead County, Montana, 59912 USA

Located on Talbot Road between Veteran Drive and S. Hilltop Road.
Directions: To locate the Montana Veterans' Home Cemetery: from Hwy. 40/2 turn south on S. Hilltop Road then turn east on Talbot Road to the cemetery.  It is .62 miles from the highway,  just past St. Richard Cemetery.

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