Classic WWII Planes Add to Bitterroot Memorial Day
In the skies above the Bitterroot Valley, the famous C-47 Miss Montana and a World War II P-51 fighter plane, along with a more modern helicopter (photo below), joined the Memorial Day commemorations. The three aircraft flew over Corvallis, signalling the start of the 102nd Corvallis Memorial Day Parade. Miss Montana continued on to flyby other ceremonies to the north.
Memorial Day in the Bitterroot Valley actually started Sunday at 3 p.m. with a new ceremony at the south end of Darby. Then on Memorial Day itself in the Hamilton area, the Hamilton American Legion Post held three ceremonies in succession, starting at 8 a.m. at the WWI Doughboy statue on the lawn of the Ravalli County Museum, with a military salute (photo below), followed by a ceremony at the Main Street Bridge over Bitterroot River for those lost at sea, and a further ceremony at Hamilton's Riverview Cemetery, where hundreds of crosses and flags mark veterans’ resting places.
As always, a huge crowd lined the Corvallis Main Street for the Corvallis American Legion Post 91 Memorial Day Parade. They welcomed the C-47 Miss Montana, accompanied by a P51 fighter and a helicopter. Windy weather cancelled a parachute drop, but after the flyby, Post 91 fired the cannons to start the parade, with the theme "Let Freedom Ring." Grand Marshall was Edna Nasca, and Army veteran and and past Commander of Post 91.
Following the parade, Post 91 read the names of veterans buried at the Corvallis Cemetery at noon and then placed a wreath in the Bitterroot River at the Woodside Bridge.
A car show at Hamilton's Heironymus Park after the parade raised money for local veterans groups, and a free concert by the local group Who Dat At the Sapphire Lutheran Homes large lawn topped off the afternoon.