Veterans Honor Banner Project
Rapid City is the City of Presidents, but it’s also a military town through-and-through. That’s why a program like the Veterans Honor Banner Project is the perfect fit.
Bill Casper, the project’s director, is an Air Force veteran who has lived in Rapid City for many years. He started the Veterans Honor Banner Project in 2017 after being inspired by a similar project in Kansas. The first year had 18 banners in downtown Rapid City honoring veterans from World War II.
Today, the project has expanded outside of downtown and includes veterans from every armed conflict the United States has fought in since the Civil War. Their goal is to honor a veteran on every banner hanger in Rapid City. Honorees include a previous South Dakota governor, an Oglala Lakota Code Talker, and a Rapid City mayor, among many others. Each banner includes a short bio along with the veteran’s name and military service information.
“We put up 224 banners this year,” Bill said. “We put banners up anywhere we can get access to a light pole, and we hope to keep expanding so we have room for more.”
The banners are a welcome addition to Rapid City, with locals and visitors alike coming out to see them. Bill said they’ve even had families come in from out of state to see their family member’s banner.
“We just had a family from Nevada the other day, and we’ve had families from California and Tennessee too,” Bill said. When banners are hung, volunteers take note of their location. If there is a particular veteran you’re interested in, you can contact the project through their website to find out where their banner is located.
Family and friends who wish to honor a veteran in their life can do so by filling out a form on the Veterans Honor Banner Project website. Veterans and their families do not have to have a connection to Rapid City or the Black Hills in order to be honored. Banners will hang for three years, at which time they can either be continued or returned to the sponsor to keep as a keepsake.
“So far, about only one in three families do not want to continue their banners after the initial three years. It’s an honor to help them recognize their family members, so we’re happy to keep doing it as much as possible,” Bill said.
There are plans in the future to add full bios to each veteran’s page on the Veterans Honor Banner Project website. The project is an all-volunteer organization, but Bill hopes the project will become a reality in the next few years. For now, every veteran is on the Veteran Banner Project’s website, including their picture and the information on their banner.
For more information, please visit the Veterans Honor Banner Project website