by Arlene Helmbrecht, Victor
Memorial Day 2022 has come and gone. The parade was originally organized by WWI veterans to honor those men and women who died in the service of their country. This year was the 102nd marching of the parade. Now it’s organized and led by the American Legion Post #91 of Corvallis. I think they did a fine job.
The parade is open to the public and is free to all who want to participate or enter. The post does a huge job coordinating all the weekend events surrounding the Memorial Day commemoration. The parade is only one fraction of events offered.
On Saturday before Memorial Day, dozens of veterans are placing flags on the graves at the Corvallis Cemetery. Over 500 flags were placed there alone. The same is done at other local cemeteries in the valley. The Legion coordinated the “fly over” of Miss Montana, the P51 Mustang, and the helicopter. The “second” fly over finished with one plane leaving the group – symbolizing a missing man formation again stressing the importance of our servicemen and women lost. After the parade the Legion has a service at the Corvallis Cemetery of reading of over 500 names of those lost in combat or have otherwise passed on. Later a wreath is placed in the Bitterroot River to honor the naval veterans.
The Corvallis Legion does a solemn remembrance to those who served our country and made the ultimate sacrifice. The vets may be gone but they will never be forgotten and will forever be in our hearts.
The theme of this year’s parade was “Let Freedom Ring.” Every veteran knows that freedom is not free. We honor those brave men and women who fought and died defending these rights. Rights that all Americans enjoy and are privileged to have. We all bowed our heads in silent prayer on Memorial Day and stood tall with hands over our hearts while the beautiful American flag was marched down the street. We should focus on the flags displayed at local cemeteries and not ones on a few trucks in the parade.
A parade may not be enjoyable to all who attend. There are a lot of people, the cars are noisy, some trucks have flags, there are politicians, the motorcycles are loud, there’s not enough candy, there’s too much candy, some snarky remarks may be overheard, etc. etc. Perhaps next year one should participate in alternative events that are more suitable to the solemnity of the day. Darby and Stevensville have ceremonies for their veterans. Hamilton has services at the “Doughboy” statue. Corvallis has services at the cemetery. Other options are available if you don’t like the parade.
“Let Freedom Ring.” God bless America. Thank you to Corvallis American Legion Post #91 for a fine parade and fine weekend to remember our fallen veterans.