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Over 1,000 people attended the dedication of the Montana Korean War Memorial when it was unveiled in Rose Memorial Park, Missoula, Montana on Flag Day, June 14, 1997. Among those attending and speaking were: Senator Conrad Burns; Governor Marc Racicot; Missoula Mayor Mike Kadas; Montana Senator Mike Halligan; Missoula County Commissioner Barbara Evans; Retired Marine Corps Colonel Gary Yundt; Retired Navy Commander Joe Bouchard; Brigadier General Emil Eschenburg; and Major General John E. Prendergast, Adjutant General of the State of Montana. Charlie Brown was the Master of Ceremonies, and invocation and benediction was given by Capt. Gordon A. Read, CHC USN (Ret).

A "Salute to Korean War Veterans" dance was co-sponsored by the Montana Korean War Memorial Committee and the Museum of Mountain Flying. It was held at the Minuteman Hangar at Missoula International Airport and was attended by over 700 people. Music was of the 1950 and prior era and played by a big band. Beer and wine were served at 1950 prices, and the food was catered. A great time was had by all.

On the day of the dedication, a free veterans’ breakfast was sponsored by American Legion, Post 27 of Missoula, with the assistance of members of other veterans organizations. Many veterans, Shriners, members of the antique car club of Missoula, Bitterroot Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution, Montana Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, and many other organizations were in the parade.

The Montana Korean War Memorial Committee was introduced by Committee Chairman C.E. Crookshanks. Committee members were: Charlie Brown, Boyd Kessler, Don Staves, Cedric Hames, Fred Raunig, Dennis Tate, Ray Nicklay, Gerald Mace, Ted Stetler, Don Trenary, Wey Symmes, Bruce Johnson (who designed the memorial), Dave Fowlkes, and Sam Roberts.

Music was played by the Ancient Order of Hibernians Pipes and Drums, and several other bagpipe groups. It was very moving. Staff Sergeant David Haverfield sounded taps as the memorial was unveiled to show the names of 139 Montanans who died during the Korean War.

The black academy granite structure consists of four granite slabs measuring 24 feet wide and 8 feet high. In addition to the names of the 139 Montanans killed during the war, a likeness of an American soldier is etched in one of the slabs. His head is bowed and his hands are in the pocket of his parka. He is looking down at the helmet of a fallen comrade. Another slab shows the map of Korea. At the top of the Korean map are the words, "The Korean War", and at the top of the American Soldiers’ slab are the words, "Always Remember." The memorial was made possible by donations of over $80,000 most of which were in increments of $25 or less.

Those individuals, veterans’ organizations, businesses, and others who donated $500 or more have their names etched in a plaque and placed near the. A lot of volunteer help by committee members and their families, as well as by local townspeople, kept the cost of the memorial much lower than expected.

Mr. Jim McDonald, President, Norco Products, was the general contractor, and Mr. Ted Stetler of Missoula, Montana traveled to Minnesota to do the engraving on the granite slabs. Space has been left in case there are other Montanans who were killed in the war, but inadvertently left off the monument.

A plaque was presented to C.E. Crookshanks by Mr. Don Trenary and Mr. Dennis Tate on behalf of the committee for a job well done and done on time with all bills paid. We welcome any and everyone to stop by and view the Memorial. Remember: "Freedom is Not Free." – Denny Tate, Life Member KWVA, Korean War Veterans, Montana Korean War Memorial Committee


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