The American Legion of Montana
On Sunday, April 21st six members of Andrew Pearson Post 117 of Billings flew to Washington D.C. with the Big Sky Honor Flight. The Big Sky Honor Flight (BSHF) is Montana’s only Honor Flight hub and their mission is to fly all WWII veterans in Montana to Washington D.C. to visit the memorial built in their honor. To date BSHF has made three trips and there have been at least four members of Post 117 on each one.All BSHF trips are memorable and often emotional but the latest BSHF was a special one for the members of Post 117.
The namesake for Post 117, Capt. Andrew Pearson, is interred at Arlington National Cemetery which is one of the stops that BSHF makes during their visits to our nation’s capital. On this trip, the post members were met at the Tomb of The Unknown’s by Capt. Pearson’s widow, Jo Pearson. Mrs. Pearson had never met any of the members of the post named for her late husband but had followed their progress from the beginning through email and Facebook. It was through Facebook that she and post Commander George Blackard realized that they had been at Arlington National Cemetery at the same time on the same day during the second BSHF and they vowed to not miss another opportunity to meet.
Arrangements were made and the first meeting happened at the amphitheater next to the Tomb of The Unknowns during the third BSHF. Handshakes and hugs were exchanged as each member of the post took their turn during the greeting. Just having the opportunity to meet was very special but Commander Blackard had a special surprise for everyone. Only four days prior, the post had received their colors from American Legion Flag & Emblem Sales and Commander Blackard had brought them on the trip in his backpack. Standing on the steps of the amphitheater the group unfurled their colors for the very first time. It was truly a special moment that will be remembered and cherished by everyone present.
L-R Sue Davidson; Chaplain, George Blackard; Commander, Tim Hornung, Carrie Moffit, Dave Staton, Burt Gigoux; Bugler, Jo Pearson