Improvements, activities on Memorial Day

In honor of Memorial Day (Monday May 30, this year) the flag pole in the older part of Custer County Cemetery’s veterans section is being refurbished and repainted by members of the 4th Degree Knights of Columbus in Miles City. 

Some of the graves in the area of the cemetery where the flag pole stands date back to the early 1900s.

“The cemetery hasn’t had the funds to maintain that section as well as it might have been,” said Gene Bankey, a 4th Degree Knight and the KC’s Miles City Council, adding that the grass at the cemetery has been mowed and taken care of and “it’s beautiful out there.”

The 4th Degree Knights of Columbus members took on the project of refinishing the flag pole because the organization promotes patriotism, Americanism and citizenship. 

“ABC Glass has donated the hardware for the flag pole and Scott’s Glass and Paint is donating the paint to repaint the flag pole,” said Bankey.

He added that the 4th Degree members plan to place a solar light on the pole so the flag will be lit 24 hours a day.

”We’ve [the 4th Degree members] replaced six flags in the county so far. Those flags have been donated by the local Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 1579,” said Bankey. “We retired the flag and put a new one up at Kinsey School and the Calvary Cemetery. We’ll retire the flag and, with help from the local Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts and National Guard, put a new one up at Holy Rosary Healthcare on Saturday, June 11, just before Flag Day (which is Tuesday, June 14). On Saturday, May 28, at 8 a.m. we’ll raise the new flag at the Custer County Cemetery, in time for Memorial Day.”

Bankey invited the public to attend Saturday’s flag raising ceremony, adding that the event at Holy Rosary Healthcare also will be open to the public, but he didn’t know the time yet.

He added that anyone who would like to donate to the lighting of the flag pole at the Custer County Cemetery may contact him at 234-3049.

Other activities planned in Miles City on Memorial Day are the raising of the big flags at the Eastern Montana State Veterans Cemetery at 7:30 a.m. Monday and the lowering of those flags at 5:30 that afternoon. This also will be the first time all of the 55 flags will be flying in the area up to and around Monument Circle in that cemetery.

Members of the American Legion Custer Post 5, with help from Washington Middle School Builders Club members and other volunteers, placed small flags on the graves of veterans in the Custer County and Eastern Montana State Veterans cemeteries earlier this week. They will remain in place until after Memorial Day.

For more information about the American Legion activities, contact Carol Prahl at 234-5797.

Also on Memorial Day, members of the Fifth infantry Re-enactors, along with re-enactors from other groups and interested citizens, will have a special Memorial Day service at 11 a.m. Monday in the Custer County Cemetery to honor Miles City’s Medal of Honor recipients, in particular Henry Hogan, who died 100 years ago and was one of only 19 double MoH recipients.

After a gun salute and service for Hogan at his grave, the group will move to the grave of James Pym, who won his Medal of Honor at the Battle of the Little Bighorn. His medal is one of two on display at the battlefield today.

The services are open to the public. Anyone who would like to attend in period costume or uniform is encouraged to do so. For more information, contact Amorette Allison at 234-6135.