On November 11 we celebrate Veteran’s Day, first celebrated in Birmingham, Alabama in 1947. Mr Raymond Weeks, a World War II veteran, organized "National Veterans Day", which included a parade and other festivities, to honor all veterans. It was held on November 11, then designated Armistice Day. U.S. Congress Representative Edward Rees of Kansas proposed a bill changing Armistice Day to Veterans Day. In 1954, President Eisenhower signed a bill proclaiming November 11 as Veterans Day. Raymond Weeks received the Presidential Citizens Medal from President Reagan in November 1982. Local parades and ceremonies are now an annual event celebrated nationwide. Join us at Main Street Square for a Veteran’s Day ceremony at 10am, followed by the annual parade down Main Street at 11am.
For more news, view the NEWS section below.
The Black Hills War Monument Association (BHWMA), founded in January 2022, is a 501C3 nonprofit organization dedicated to honoring fallen military members from the Black Hills of South Dakota. The BHWMA worked from January 2022 – May 2023, in designing and erecting the Black Hills War Monument, located in Memorial Park near downtown Rapid City. Six large granite walls contain the engraved names of almost 700 fallen military, covering World War I, World War II, the Korean/Vietnam Wars, the Cold War/Global War on Terror (Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts). The sixth wall is for POW/MIA members from all wars. In addition, the Kabul 13 military members who died serving their nation and humanity on August 26, 2021, are included on the GWOT wall.
Use of any smartphone camera enables the viewer to link with a QR code to the BHWMA website (www.bhwma.org). The military histories and legacies of each name listed can be viewed. Behind each wall stand the 6 military service flags, and the center of the site features the US Flag, POW/MIA flag, and state of South Dakota flag, all flown on a 40 ft flagpole. All flags are raised and lowered by local volunteers for all half-staff days, and ground-based lighting permits night viewing.
On July 5, 1991, the Black Hills Veteran’s Monument was dedicated in a ceremony at Memorial Park. It was built as a joint effort between VFW Post 1273 and the EAFB community, led by 37 BMS B1 Project Officer Capt Ed Manzano. SD Sen Tom Daschle and BGen Thad Wolfe, the senior commander of the base in 1991, spoke at the dedication ceremony. The hexagon shaped memorial was placed on a large stone donated by Crazy Horse Memorial founder Ruth Ziolkowski, and contains plaques honoring BH veterans from WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam and Desert Storm/1st Iraqi War.
The Black Hills War Monument Association exists to maintain the monument site and to foster patriotism and appreciation for the sacrifices of our military. Efforts to connect with our local students and citizens on the importance of remembering our fallen members includes regular time on local radio stations with the Black Hills Honor Roll, as well as sponsoring the upcoming first annual Freedom Essay Contest for local high school seniors, to be held in the spring of 2024. The towns of the Black Hills of South Dakota have an incredible legacy and history of supporting our nation’s war efforts from World War I to the present and the BHWMA is committed to ensuring their sacrifices are never forgotten.
"This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave."
– Elmer Davis
The tabs below for each of our nation’s wars will link the viewer to alphabetical listings of the 694 Black Hills military listed on the monument’s six granite walls.
Sept/Oct 2023 Honor Roll
"Heroes of the Hills" Book
We are currently offering our book, “The Heroes of the Hills” to the public. There is no charge for this history of 70 fallen Black Hills heroes; however, we ask you to consider a donation to the Monument fund to help us maintain the site and to cover the costs of publication. To obtain a copy, email us at [email protected]. To send a donation, the address is above in the Funding section.
First Annual 1 Lt Mary Piper Freedom Essay Contest
In Spring 2024, we will have the first annual 1 Lt Mary Piper Freedom Essay Contest for high school seniors throughout the Black Hills. A panel of judges will select the first, second and third place essays. Cash prizes/gift cards will go to the top three, and the winner will have the opportunity to read his/her essay at the Veteran's Day event in Rapid City. Watch here for details and we will soon have a downloadable entry form online.