Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Vets to be honored with fly-over

Memorial Day ceremonies honor past and present military service

Express Staff Writer

Fallen heroes are honored in Hailey in 2008. Photo by Mountain Express

The Wood River Valley will remember fallen heroes, surviving veterans and those still serving overseas in the U.S. armed forces at the Ketchum and Hailey cemeteries Monday, May 31, from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. There will be 21-gun salutes, poetry readings and flag-raisings.

Iraq War veteran Capt. Douglas Uphoff, of the Idaho National Guard, will serve as master of ceremonies in Hailey. American Legion Post Commander Bill Cassell will host the Ketchum ceremony.

At about 11:45 a.m. the 389th Fighter Squadron F-15E "Thunderbolts" from Mountain Home Air Force Base will salute fallen veterans with a "missing man" formation fly-over of the entire valley from north to south.

Memorial Day will be celebrated at the Hailey Cemetery with a flag tribute to Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl, who was captured last year in Afghanistan.

The Hailey Cemetery, at 511 E. Maple St., ranks in the top five of Idaho cemeteries for the number of U.S. military veterans in its soil. Some of those served in the Civil War. The ceremony will feature poetry readings, a flag-raising and a rifle detail to honor veterans.

The theme of the Hailey ceremony this year is: "Lest We Forget, Military Families Also Serve." Idaho National Guard Spc. Stephanie Hoffman will read "In Flanders Fields" by John McRae, and the keynote speech will be delivered by Col. Robert K. Lytle, deputy chief of staff of Joint Forces Headquarters of the Idaho National Guard.

A wreath-laying ceremony, rifle detail and playing of "Taps" will follow.

Hailey event coordinator Margaret Springer said 415 U.S. flags will be placed at the cemetery, 366 of which will decorate the graves of known veterans laid to rest at the Hailey Cemetery. Forty-nine more flags will be placed in a section called Idaho's Fallen Heroes.


"They represent all Idahoans who've paid the ultimate price since 9/11," Springer said. "We have been working on this since February. We do our best every year to cover all known veterans."

Representatives from the Marine Corps, Air Force, Navy and Army will be in Hailey on Monday.

The Ketchum ceremony will feature a 21-gun salute, followed by keynote speaker Episcopal Bishop Craig Anderson.

Anderson served two years of active duty in the U.S. Army before earning a doctorate in theology. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

While serving as bishop of South Dakota, Anderson was adopted by the Oglala Tribe of the Pine Ridge Reservation and given the name Wanbli Tqkaheya (Leading Eagle) and was awarded the Sacred Heart Peace Medal in 1991 by the Great Sioux Nation.

Cassell, commander of American Legion Post No. 115 in Ketchum, said he is proud of the 230 men and women at the post.

"They take seriously the task of honoring veterans in the cemetery with the support of the community," he said.

The events in Hailey and Ketchum are free and open to the public.

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