With 50 US State flags on a snow-covered lawn, the Ravalli County Museum held its 31st Annual Veterans Day Observance in Hamilton Wednesday. Museum Director Tamar Stanley, who is retiring this year, welcomed the small crowd to the outdoor ceremony at the World War I Dough Boy statue. Ravalli American Legion Post 47 and the Bitterroot Marine Corps League partnered with the museum in the patriotic program.

The COVID-19 pandemic prevented the program from being held inside the museum and an early morning snowfall kept attendance down this year. Music was performed by the mother-daughter team of Laurie Burnham and Barbara Burnham-Edmonds. Post 47 Chaplain Nancy Dezell gave the Invocation and Benediction, while Ruth Cook, Post 47 Commander, spoke of the unity of Americans and the sacrifice and the continuing service of America's veterans.

The ceremony included a Rifle Salute from the Bitterroot Marine Corps League and the playing of Taps. Wreaths to commemorate the fallen were laid at the Dough Boy statue. The audience joined in as Barbara and Laurie sang the medley of Armed Service songs.

The Ravalli County Museum Historical Society also noted that they are gathering oral histories from people in the Bitterroot Valley and are very interested in veterans' stories. Museum personell are available to record those who'd like to preserve episodes of their personal history.

The 2 p.m. ceremony was one of two at the museum on November 11th. The first was the ringing of the bell at 11 a.m., which was the 101st anniversary of the World War I Armistice, signed at that time on the 11th Day of the 11th Month of 1911. The 11 a.m. bell ringing is becoming a national observance.

State flags from across the US on the Ravalli County Museum lawn. (Steve Fullerton, Townsquare Media)
The WWI dough boy statue, with a trimming of snow. (Steve Fullerton, Townsquare Media)