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As a steady snow fell on Wednesday morning, dozens gathered at the Vietnam War Memorial in Bozeman’s Sunset Hills Cemetery in recognition of Veterans Day.

The Bozeman American Legion organized the annual event, which looked a little different this year due to the coronavirus pandemic but still included songs, speeches, prayers and performances to honor veterans.

Sheriff’s chaplain Randy Jones began the ceremony with a prayer, thanking veterans for their service on the battlefield as well as for the contributions they have continued to make since returning home.

Len Albright, post commander for Gallatin Post 14, highlighted the hard work and sacrifices veterans have made and talked about the camaraderie they share as a result of their service.

“From myself to the rest of the veterans out here I commend and thank you for all that you have done and sacrificed for our country,” he said. “Try to remember the good times and make peace with the bad times. Share your story. But most importantly, stand tall and proud.”

Attendees recited the pledge of allegiance and sang the national anthem. The Post 14 honor guard fired a three-round volley before playing taps. The ROTC drill team closed the event with a series of elaborate maneuvers that was met with applause.

Local pilots were scheduled to fly over the gathering but were canceled due to the snowstorm.

“They pass on their very special thank you to all of the veterans out here,” Albright said. “They’re with us in spirit.”

Early Wednesday morning, volunteers placed American flags along Main Street and then participated in a breakfast hosted by the Bozeman American Legion. The flags were removed at 4 p.m.

Following the ceremony at Sunset Hills, the Bozeman American Legion honored Jim Marchwick, who has been with the organization since the 1950s, by presenting him with a pin, certificate and patch for his service.

“Being a veteran is something that has to be earned and that can never be taken away,” Albright said. “It has no monetary value but at the same time is a priceless gift.”

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Perrin Stein can be reached at pstein@dailychronicle.com or at 582-2648.

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