Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial beginning of summer for many people. The last Monday in May (May 30 this year) is a federal holiday set aside to honor U.S. soldiers who died while in the military services.
On that day, Hailey will remember its military heroes with a military jet fly-over, speeches and ceremonies at the Hailey Cemetery, and an open house at the newly refurbished Hailey Armory at 311 Cedar St.
Memorial Day, formerly known as Decoration Day, was first enacted to honor Union and Confederate soldiers following the American Civil War. Following World War I, the date was used to honor Americans who have died in all conflicts.
"This is the one designated time of year that everyone can thank those who have served and since passed away," said Maggie Springer, event coordinator for the Hailey Memorial Day ceremony.
"It is a time to recognize the true cost of freedom and to honor those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice," she said.
Nearly 400 known Hailey veterans will be honored at the Hailey Cemetery at 511 E. Maple St. from 11 a.m. to noon. The free event is open to the public.
The ceremony will include color guard, rifle detail and flag-raising ceremonies by the U.S. Air Force 366th Force Support Squadron from Mountain Home Air Force Base. Members of the Gunfighter Chorale, also out of Mountain Home Air Force Base, will perform the national anthem.
Col. James McClellan of the 366th will provide a keynote address. The master of ceremonies will be Capt. Charles Garrison with the 116th Idaho National Guard.
The Idaho Air National Guard's 124th Fighter Wing, under the command of Col. James Compton, is scheduled to make a fly-over of A-10 Warthogs at 11:30 a.m.
Col. Gail Halvorsen (USAF-retired), the original "Candy Bomber" of the 1948-49 Berlin airlift, will make a presentation at the nearby Hailey Armory following the ceremony.
All weekend long, the Idaho National Guard Armory in Hailey will hold an open house, with events for the entire family, including a dance party on Saturday night.
"We are very pleased to have Hailey Mayor Rick Davis take part," said Idaho National Guard spokesman Col. Tim Marsano.
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Hailey Armory events
Saturday, May 28:
- Noon, ribbon-cutting ceremony.
- 1-7 p.m., open house with military vehicle and equipment displays, a weapons simulator, a rock-climbing wall and a bouncy house for youth.
- 7 -10 p.m., the Idaho National Guard's 25th Army Band rock combo will provide entertainment for dancing.
Sunday, May 29:
- 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., open house continues at the armory.
Memorial Day ceremony
Monday, May 30:
- 11 a.m. to noon, annual Memorial Day ceremony at Hailey Cemetery.
- 12:30-2 p.m., retired Col. Gail Halvorsen, aka the "Candy Bomber" of the Berlin airlift in 1948-1949, will speak at the armory.