Randy Kemp

Randy Kemp, Bozeman American Legion Post adjutant, walks along the Vietnam War Memorial before Veterans Day ceremonies in this 2019 file photo.

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Bozeman’s American Legion will not have a pancake breakfast Wednesday for Veterans Day because of the coronavirus but will hold a ceremony at the Vietnam War Memorial inside Bozeman’s Sunset Hills Cemetery.

Len Albright, post commander for Gallatin Post 14, said the breakfast was canceled to comply with Gallatin County’s social distancing guidelines meant to slow the spread of COVID-19.

“We’ll probably wind up with too many people to practice social distancing,” he said, referring to why the breakfast was canceled.

The veterans group will continue its tradition of honoring fallen veterans at the cemetery starting at 11 a.m. Albright said people will be outside and able to spread out.

“We have a big sound system — so any people that do show up, the sound will get to everybody no matter how far spread out they are,” he said.

The ceremony is expected to start with an invocation from the Gallatin County sheriff’s chaplain. The group will then recite the pledge of allegiance and sing the national anthem.

Albright said the ceremony is about thanking all veterans “from all wars and all conflicts and all branches of service.”

The honor guard will perform a seven-round volley featuring seven rifles and taps. Albright said an ROTC drill team will perform a seven-minute drill during the ceremony, and local pilots who “still like to fly” will fly over the gathering.

“They fly over and give us a nice little wave,” Albright said.

Before the day’s celebrations, he said, volunteers will place 90 full-size flags on Main Street at 6 a.m. The flags will be taken down at 4 p.m.

Albright said the American Legion is hosting a breakfast for volunteers who help out with the flags from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. He said the breakfast is for volunteers only.

“That way we can make sure that we can social distance,” he said.

After the ceremony, the Bozeman American Legion will honor a member who has been with the organization since the 1950s. Albright said the group is planning to surprise the person with a pin, certificate and patch for his service.

Montana State University has been hosting virtual Veterans Day discussions throughout the week to celebrate those who have served in the armed forces.

On Wednesday, Ilse-Mari Lee, cellist and dean of the Honors College, will perform a musical tribute to veterans. The performance will be recorded and can be found on the Veterans Services Facebook page: facebook.com/VetCenterMSU.

On Thursday, the university will host a discussion titled “What your Students Want You to Know… About Being a Veteran,” which focuses on veterans in the classroom and with faculty. For more information and to register for the event, visit montana.edu/calendar/events/36126.

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Freddy Monares can be reached at fmonares@dailychronicle.com or at 406-582-2630.

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