BUTTE — The Montana Legislature authorized a state medal to honor military veterans who died or are missing in action.
Gov. Steve Bullock held a ceremonial signing Tuesday in Butte for a bill that created the Montana Award of Valorous Service.
The Montana Standard reports the medal will be given to families of about 1,500 Montana servicemen and women who have died or are missing in action since 1941. Democratic Sen. Jon Sesso of Butte says state personnel will spend the next year identifying families who qualify for the medal and begin distributing them by 2015.
Senate Bill 242 gives the Department of Military Affairs the ability to accept and spend private donations to fund the medal. Sesso said it would cost about $7,000 to produce 100 medals.
The medals are to feature a silver cross with a circular medallion in the middle. The medallion has a gold star for the families of fallen troops, depictions of mountains, blue sky and grasslands. It has an eagle feather for Montana Native Americans and a pick ax to represent the state’s mining culture. The medal also includes a plate with “4-41” to represent Montana as the fourth largest state and the 41st state to enter the Union
Sesso said three other states have similar medals honoring fallen veterans.
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