Fallen Soldier Memorial Unveiling On UM Campus
Grateful Nation Montana, a not-for-profit organization is unveiling the Grateful Nation Montana Fallen Soldier Memorial on the University of Montana Main Campus.
David Bell, a 1996 UM graduate, co-founded Grateful Nation as a way to give back to fallen soldiers and their families. David and his wife Brittany, also a UM graduate, established GNM and have administered GNM related events around the state.
The memorial, five larger than life bronze statues were crafted by Montana native Rick Rowley and will honor the sacrifice of our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan and serve as a symbol of hope and patriotism for future generations. The name, branch, rank, dates lived and home town of our Montana soldiers who have given their lives for our country in Iraq and Afghanistan will be featured in recessed granite markers surrounding the Memorial.
Montana has lost more soldiers per capita than any other state. Only about 10% of U.S. soldiers currently deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan have a bachelor’s degree and only 4% of all enlisted soldiers have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher. Whether a parent attended college is a significant predictor of their children’s enrollment. The low college attendance by our infantry troops most likely to be killed in the line of duty, and the reality of a single parent left to deal with the financial and socioeconomic issues of raising children alone create a bitter irony. When an American soldier pays the ultimate price for our country, the soldier’s children face an uphill battle to realize the American dream. GNM reverses this trajectory through early intervention and support.
GNM is based in Conrad, Montana.
The GNM Fallen Soldier Memorial unveiling will take place at 5pm Friday, November 4th just east of the Journalism Building. Following the unveiling will be a first ever reunion for all UM veterans who have served in all branches of the Armed services.
The next day the University of Montana Grizzly Military Appreciation Football Game and other veteran related events will take place. Together they will form the largest weekend long tribute to our military in Montana history.
For a list of all the Montana soldiers who will be honored on the statue, including our colleague’s son U.S. Marine Private 1st Class Andrew Bedard visit the GNM website at www.gratefulnationmontana.com.