BOZEMAN, Mont. – Veterans from across generations of service paraded their way into Belgrade High School Auditorium on Monday.
Each year the school holds an assembly to thank veterans. The assembly included performances by the school’s choir, orchestra, and various speeches including one from Montana Senator Steve Daines.
“I will tell you these veterans here today, they are tough. You could see a few tears in their eyes today because of what the students here in Belgrade did to honor them,” said Daines.
The vets in the audience were asked to stand and be recognized for their service. Keynote speaker and Purple Heart recipient Charles Gatlin’s main point was to not be afraid to step forward and help your fellow man or woman. For Gatlin, it was humbling to hear the applause from not only him but the other veterans standing around him.
“To remember them, honor them and to carry on their legacy,” said Gatlin. “They did it before us so it is our job to do it now. And once I am gone here before too long it will be the younger generations turn to fill the gap for me.”
“We all share something in common,” said Vietnam Veteran Bill Lockhart. “Even though we all didn’t work together at the same time it is like having a best friend. You were born at separate times in different hospitals together and went to different schools together, but you are still best friends.”
The chant of “USA, USA,” filled the room to end the assembly. All stood gleaming down, expressing their gratitude for Montana’s vets.