BOZEMAN, Mont. -

Every year Whitney Douglas comes to Sunset Hills Cemetary to visit her grandfather, a World War II Veteran. This year, she brought an American flag to to honor him for Memorial Day, only to find there was already one there.

"I don't think they get enough appreciation so, it's beautiful to come out here and see all these flags and let them know they're still thought of and just to say 'thank you' for everything that you did for us," says Douglas.

The American Legion has made it an annual tradition to recognize veterans at Sunset Hills with a flag.

"We think it's very important that, especially now, that the veterans are recognized there. For several decades they were not recognized," says American Legion Member Gene Brooks.

The group started with all the vets who had a veteran's stone or marker. They also got help from family members who called in saying their soldier didn't have a flag.

Yet, the search didn't end there.

"We didn't have any idea that it was of the scope that Dallas ran into when he started to dig these out of the ash pit," says Brooks.

By ash pit, Brooks means the records remaining in the American Legion after the downtown explosion two years ago. Member Dallas Thompson volunteered to sort through those files and with the help of Brooks, the two researched more old records, from the Gallatin County Courthouse to the Pioneer Museum, and sorted them on a computer.

"People were in these files, they weren't all registered [as veterans], very few of them were," explains Thompson.

Three years ago, the group estimates they knew of 1200 veterans in Sunset Hills. Now, that figure sits at around 2200 vets and counting.

"It just keeps gathering more and more all the time and it's history. What you get through here, you recognize some names, you recognize a name my dad or my granddad had talked about and it just makes it interesting and worthwhile for the people to still live on through the Legion," says Thompson.

Though the two say they have a lot of work ahead of them, Brooks and Thomson say it's worth it.

"They're laying their life on the line and I just think it's worthwhile that they be recognized when they don't make it back...A lot of them are still living but they'll be recognized when the time comes if we keep the records up to date and it's an honor to do this for them," says Thompson.

It's an honor that makes all the difference to people like Whitney Douglas.

"It just means a lot to me to know that people feel the same way and that they do this every year because some places don't so, much appreciation, for sure," says Douglas.