As Americans prepare to celebrate the 236th anniversary of U.S. independence, Grateful Nation Montana will engrave the names of two more servicemen on the Fallen Soldier Memorial at The University of Montana.
The names of Sgt. James D. Riekena of Missoula (killed in action 2007) and Cpl. Antonio “Tony” Burnside of Great Falls (killed in action 2012) will be added to the memorial on Thursday, June 28. They will be the 41st and 42nd soldiers recognized by the memorial, which honors soldiers from Montana who have paid the ultimate price in service to their country while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Formed in 2007, Grateful Nation Montana facilitates college educations for the children of soldiers killed on active duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. The organization gifted the Fallen Soldier Memorial to UM on Nov. 4, 2011.
“We mourn the deaths and celebrate the lives of these two fine young men by adding them in advance of Independence Day,” said David Bell, GNM co-founder and president. “They will join the names of our other Montana heroes so that future generations will always remember the sacrifice they made for our freedom.”
The Fallen Soldier Memorial features five larger-than‐life bronze statues surrounded by 42 12-by-24-inch granite tablets recessed in the ground that contain the name, branch, rank, years lived and Montana hometown of each fallen veteran. The memorial is adjacent to Don Anderson Hall and the Social Science Building on the UM campus.
Bob Jordan with Garden City Monument Services will engrave the names at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, and the process will take several hours.