Dedication ceremony

A crowd gathered at Bud Lilly's Three Forks home Friday, Aug. 5 for a dedication ceremony for a memorial Lilly is building to honor local Japanese-American World War II heroes. Lt. Gov. John Bohlinger addressed the crowd.

Three Forks city officials will unveil the Japanese Memorial Plaque at Veteran’s Park on Feb. 1, at 10 a.m. The project was created by Three Forks fishing legend, Bud Lilly.

“The memorial is to honor men and women of Japanese ancestry who served and fought for America in WWII,” officials said in release. “Many members of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team were connected to Three Forks. Several families had sons and daughters go off to fight the war in Europe.”

This memorial was originally created by Bud Lilly and housed on his family’s private property.  Lilly placed the memorial on Railway Avenue in the public’s view and intended to dedicate this spot to the public. However, Lilly passed away prior to any public dedication. 

“Mrs. Lilly wanted to carry on her husband’s wish so she met with Mayor Gifford in the fall of 2019 to see what could be done,” officials said. “Mayor Gifford suggested moving the memorial to Veteran’s Park, and met with VFW Post #7621 and American Legion Post #93, who agreed to help the city financially to recreate the memorial in a bronzed plaque and move it to Veteran’s Park. The Three Forks City Council agreed to house the memorial on city property (in an August meeting) and the project moved forward.”

Everyone is invited. Refreshments at the Methodist Annex at 116 E. Cedar Street in Three Forks will follow.

Call the city at 285-3431 for info.