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Salute to Service: Honoring Flathead Valley veterans

KALISPELL –  ??Kalispell high school wrestling teams are sticking with their tradition of honoring those who served, with flags planted on their graves to help mark Memorial day in the Flathead Valley.

Conrad Cemetary is the final resting place to around 1,000 of our nation’s veterans and the Stars and Stripes are flying over their graves thanks to the Flathead and Glacier high school wrestling teams — and members of the local VFW Post.

"It’s really important that you celebrate these guys because without these guys we wouldn’t have the freedom that we have today," said Glacier High School junior Caden Willis.."

"I’m seeing friends graduate now and go into the Army and seeing the impact that they’re going to have and that previous generations have had it’s a really big deal," added Flathead High School senior Tucker Nadeau.

The soldiers laid to rest here have served in every conflict dating back to the Civil War.

Vietnam Veteran and Post Commander Jerry Stewart says the flags are furnished by the Post with the help of local individuals and area businesses. 

"People donate them and we buy some ourselves but there are companies here in the Valley that donate two or three-hundred at a time every year," Stewart said.

Nadeau — who has been a participant since his freshman year — told MTN News its left a legacy in him. Another mission of the Post is to teach youth the responsibility of respecting the flag.

"I think its really important to keep this going on for the next batch of kids now that my class is graduating and imparting onto them the importance of honoring our veterans and our country," Nadeau said.

The wrestling teams also hang flags along Main Street on Veterans Day.

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