GREAT FALLS — The 2020 annual Memorial Day service took place in front of the Montana Veterans Memorial but on a much smaller scale than in years past.
While the annual service typically draws a crowd of hundreds, this year's event was limited to participants only, in order to stay within safety protocols due to COVID-19.
Master of Ceremonies, Lt. Col. (Ret.), USAR, Richard Liebert, said the ceremony was intended to honor the men and women who lost their lives in service, while also staying safe.
“We have to improvise, adapt and overcome so we can honor the fallen, maintain our tradition, yet balance public health protocols,” Liebert said.
The service included a presentation of the colors by Malmstrom Air Force Base Honor Guard, a performance of the National Anthem by member of the Great Falls Symphony Sarah Keller, and a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance by Scout Troop 1110.
Keynote Speaker, retired U.S. Navy Captain of Ken Robison also honored fallen Great Falls veterans during the service, reminding viewers that every man and woman of service had a story.
“Every grave we visit in the cemeteries and every tile on these walls tells an important story,” Robison said.
After Robison shared important anecdotes from fallen veterans’ lives, MT Blue & Gold Star Families Memorial Markers Chairwoman dedicated the state’s second Gold Star memorial to those families in the Central Montana region who have lost a loved one in the service.
Finally, the ceremony concluded with a bagpipe salute by Jesse Callender, a moment of remembrance for the lives lost, and a playing of the taps by C.M. Russell High School student Hailey Finch.