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Memorial Day: Gathering in Remembrance

Today, in ceremonies throughout our nation, Americans are gathering to honor the men and women of the US Armed Services who paid the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country. This is the 156th observance of Memoria Day and events are occurring at hallowed ground such as Arlington National Cemetery and the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery. In Meridian, we gathered in observance at the Rock of Honor located in Julius M. Kleiner Memorial Park.


For ten years I lived in Arlington, Virginia as I worked on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. I spent time by myself and with others who would come and visit touring all of the national monuments which have been erected to recognize the service – many the full cost of that service – related to our conflicts and war.


At night we would visit the Korean War Veterans Memorial to experience the reflection of the 19 servicemen in the granite panels. For many, they would find names of relatives they never knew on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and take engravings of names to remember their sacrifice. The Marine Corps War Memorial, more commonly known as Iwo Jima, stood tall as you would enter Washington, DC from Arlington to remind us of the Marines who have given their lives for our country since 1775. And since I left, the World War II Memorial which pays honor to the more than 400,000 members who sacrificed it all to end tyranny and restore freedom to others.


While all are special and solemn in their own way, for me, the Tomb of the Unknown Solider at Arlington National Cemetery stood above all, especially on Memorial Day. With the flags that were put out on graves, the precision of the Marines from 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, known as “The Old Guard,” protecting the final resting place for those not known who look out to the US Capitol, and the inscription that reads “Here rests in honored glory an American soldier known but to God,” it is truly a special place.


It was amazing to see how many people gathered, not only on holidays, to experience these memorials and be reminded why these monuments even exist. They are made to honor and remember the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice, fighting to defend our freedom and way of life.


As I mentioned this morning, we gathered in Meridian at the Rock of Honor located in Kleiner Park. This memorial is a lasting legacy and contains the 63 names of those from Meridian who lost their lives in service to our country, and each name was read for our community to hear so that we may remember and pay our respects. 


If you haven’t been to the Rock of Honor, I encourage you to do so. You don’t have to wait for the next Memorial Day. Stop by, see what has been created for our community from efforts led by World War II Navy Veteran John H. Burns who was the Commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 4000 in Meridian.  His inscription on the memorial reads: “We Celebrate Their Valor. We Shall Not Forget Them. Their Sacrifice Is the Foundation Upon Which We Build Our Strength.”


As we go forward this Memorial Day, I encourage you to take part in the National Moment of Remembrance at 3:00 pm and think about the sacrifice and service of those below who are engraved on the monument. May God bless our fallen heroes and we as a community continue to find commonalities and honor the unity that exists; building upon those things which bind us together, rather than tear us apart.


Corporal David Marks, Army Korea


Private William Summer, Army Korea


Leland   Strawn, WW II


Private Gilbert McCorkle, Army WW II


Private First-Class Jerry Williams, Army WW II


Master Sergeant Clifford Stone, USAF WW II


Sergeant Wesley Franklin, Army WW II


2nd Lieutenant Homer Baker, Army Air Corps WW II


Gunners Mate 3rd Class Morris Stewart, Navy WW II


Private First-Class Eugene Wood, Marine Corps WW II


Staff Sergeant Arvel Maples, Army WW II


Sergeant Robert Gray, Army WW II


Staff Sergeant William Erwin, Army Air Corps WW II


Specialist 4th Class Randy Bronson, Army Vietnam


Morrison Kundson Orlie Pfost, Civilian WW II


Sergeant Clinton Rippee, USAF Vietnam


Technical Sergeant Harold Marks, Army Air Corps WW II


Private First-Class Harmon Hamming, Army WW II


Private First-Class James Barker, Marine Corps WW II


Chief Petty Officer Robert Bentley, Navy WW II


Private First-Class Donald Cooper, Army WW II


Fireman 3rd Class Lynn Creech, Navy Reserves WW II


Engine man 2nd Class Robert Chesnut, Navy Vietnam


Sergeant Jermey King, Army Iraq


Sergeant Michael Norris, Army Iraq


Sergeant Herbert Link, Army WW II


Private First-Class James Ward, Army WW II


Specialist 4th Class Floyd Savell, Army WW II


Corporal Lee Davis, Army WW I


2nd Lieutenant Roy Duerock, Army Air Corps WW II


Sergeant Wallace Atkinson, Army WW I


BTC John Gillapsy, Navy Vietnam


Private Edward Link, Army WW II


Private First Class Alvin Hashbarger, Army WW II


Private First-Class Elmer Ireland, Army WW II


1st Lieutenant Charles Cairns Army Air Corps WW II


Private First-Class Carl Vincent, Army WW II


Private First-Class Richard Vincent, Army WW II


Private First-Class Pete Morse, Marine Corps WW II


Petty Officer Gilbert Vieselmeyer, Navy Vietnam


Private First-Class Ernest Towne, Army WW II


Private First-Class James Nelson, Army WW II


Private Samuel Louderbaugh, Army WW I


Seaman Apprentice Owen Starr, Navy Vietnam


Private First-Class Jack Wood, Marine Corps WW II


Corporal James Monroe, Army Korea


Fireman 2nd Class Walter Brenner, Navy WW II


1st Lieutenant Eugene Fowler, Army National Guard WW II


Homer Lyon, Army WW I


Donald Zinn, Navy Korea


Max Montieth, Army National Guard WW II


Civilian Wake Island John Cleland Morrison Knudson WW II


Private First Class, Willes Lamm Army WW II


Specialist First Class Thomas Murach, Army Afganistan


Civilian Wake Island Forrest Packard Morrison Knudson WW II


Fireman Dale Wiley, Navy Reserves Korea


Private First-Class Calvin Skeen Army Korea


Private Lloyd Hutcheson, Army WW I


Private James Barker, Marine Corps WW II


2nd Lieutenant Charles Harnish Army     WW II


Ralph Linn, Army WW I


Airman 2nd Class David Lewis, USAF Vietnam


Private First-Class Fred Smart, Marine Corps Vietnam

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Mayor Simison

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