Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A plea for quiet

Each Memorial Day in Ketchum, the quiet solemnity of the ceremony honoring war dead is shattered by the noise of motorcycles, autos, large RVs and trucks passing within veritable feet of the city cemetery.

This year's Monday observance pitted prayers, the reading of patriotic verse, an Air Force officer's speech, and the a cappella singing of the Star Spangled Banner against highway noise, virtually depriving the 250 attendees of hearing much of the moment.

For the year's most solemn service paying tribute to the valor of military dead, couldn't the community perfect the brief observance with adequate quiet to provide veterans and their audience a setting of sober and uninterrupted tranquility?

For less than an hour, Highway 75 between Saddle and Warm Springs roads could be closed while traffic is diverted and the Memorial Day rites are completed.

The city of Ketchum has long experience with creating these temporary detours efficiently during community events, especially Wagon Days, without any major inconvenience to drivers.

The Memorial Day observance is attracting more public support and attention. The Idaho Air National Guard has added to the importance by dispatching combat aircraft to conduct fly-overs of the Ketchum and Hailey cemeteries during observances as aerial tributes to the fallen. Before and after the ceremony, families tour the gravesites, where American flags adorn each veteran's burial site.

An hour of highway quiet would be one final and much appreciated contribution to the Memorial Day homage.

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