TREASURE VALLEY, Idaho — Several Memorial Day events happened around the Treasure Valley Monday to remember and honor those who served our country.
At Morris Hill Cemetery, Civil War volunteers conducted a graveside remembrance to honor our nation’s soldiers buried right here in the Gem State. Volunteers dressed in Civil War uniforms performed a 21-gun salute and members of the VFW placed small flags around the mausoleum.
They raised a Civil War-era flag to pay tribute to fallen soldiers then and now.
"People will drive by it every day and probably not even give it a second thought, but the fact that we have history right in front of us every day so this is just a special day to stop and remember that,” said Skip Crittel, Idaho Civil War Volunteers Commander.
Memorial Day came about with the Civil War as a way to honor the 620,000 soldiers who died in battle. The holiday was first known as Decoration Day because women decorated the graves with flowers, wreaths and flags.
Thousands gathered at the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery Monday morning, commemorating Idaho’s fallen soldiers. It was a time for quiet reflection and gratitude. Veteran groups laid wreaths at the memorial and the A-10 Warthogs from the Idaho Air National Guard provided a flyover.
Officials unveiled a new statue at the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery Saturday. The bronze statue shows a Vietnam-era soldier kneeling in prayer with the dog tags of his comrades in his hands, while a Gulf War soldier rests her hand on his back. Inside each statue is a bronze heart that contains sacred soil taken from battlefields that have been fought by Americans.
Idaho was the last American state to not have its own veterans cemetery, but the site in northwest Boise now holds the graves of soldiers from every American war since World War I, as well as veterans' spouses and children.
Inside Meridian’s Kleiner Park, people paid tribute at the Rock of Honor, reading the names of local fallen soldiers. The Boy Scouts laid a wreath at the monument and a rifle salute followed. The Rock of Honor serves as a place of reflection for many on this day.
A symbolic fact about the Rock of Honor, the four panels displaying the names of the fallen represents the four elements, earth, air, water and fire. It also holds a time capsule that will be opened on the 100 year anniversary of the beginning of World War II.
A local Memorial Day tradition is the longest-running of its kind in the country. 600 flags on eight-foot poles are neatly lined across a field in Eagle, for the 10-day tribute to veterans. Each flag pole has a yellow ribbon tied to it, bearing the names of soldiers who have served or are serving.
Money raised from donations and sponsorships from individual flags will go directly to the Military Order of the Purple Heart, which is one of the smallest veterans organizations in Idaho. The flags will be on display at Reid Merrill Park through Tuesday.
Hundreds of small American flags marked veterans' graves at Kohlerlawn Cemetery in Nampa. Boy Scouts and local young Marines place the tributes. The ceremony was highlighted by a tour that included the stories of many of Canyon County's historic military members. Their ceremony ended with a 21 Gun Salute to Nampa’s heroes who died in battle, including Herbert A. Littleton, who is a Medal of Honor recipient buried at Kohlerlawn.