by Mayor Simison

One of the things I love about living in Meridian is walking out of my door on Memorial Day and seeing the work of our local Boy Scout troop and neighbors with their flags proudly displayed. It is a beautiful scene, and great way to honor the memory of our servicemen and women who paid the ultimate price to protect our freedom and to thank their families for their sacrifice. We honor these brave Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Coast Guard with recognition, respect, and gratitude. There is no way we can repay the debt these heroes paid for us, but we can and must honor their sacrifice and their love of this country.

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the 75th anniversary of the Idaho Air National Guard’s 190th Fighter Squadron.  As part of the ceremony, they unveiled a heritage A-10 Thunderbolt II, from the 124th Fighter Wing, which bears the name of Flight Officer William Gorman. Gorman was the only member of the 405th Fighter Squadron never laid to rest by his comrades, he went Missing In Action on August 7, 1944. It was also reported that the mortgages were paid off to honor the families of the Idaho Guard Black Hawk pilots who perished earlier this year. Both of these were great and lasting reminders as we moved towards today’s remembrance of the perils our service members can face in war or times of peace.

This morning, the Meridian Police Department held their Memorial Day Flag Raising Ceremony at sunrise. If you missed it, you can find the video HERE. This flag ceremony was a humble and prevailing reminder of the meaning of today. It is a way of showing respect and love for our country. The rights and freedoms we enjoy are made possible in large measure because of those who have protected our nation.

In addition, the Meridian American Legion held their tribute to fallen service members from Meridian at our Veteran’s Rock of Honor, located outdoors at Julius M. Kleiner Memorial Park. The ceremony included the annual reading of the names engraved on the monument, and a flyover from six vintage WWII era fighter planes made possible by the Warhawk Air Museum in Nampa. You can view photos from the event HERE.

For many, Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer. For others, it is a day for barbecues, picnics and family time. For all of us, it should be a day to honor those Americans who gave their lives for our country. I encourage you to honor our fallen heroes and the families that have been impacted by their loss, and teach the next generation about sacrifices made for each of us to enjoy the freedom we all cherish.

I will leave you with this Memorial Day Prayer from Helen Steiner Rice.

“They serviced and fought and died so that we might be safe and free. Grant them, O Lord, eternal peace and give them the victory. And in these days of unrest filled with grave uncertainty, let’s not forget the price they paid to keep our country free.”

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