Memorial service honors war veterans

An American flag waves near the veterans’ memorial at Smith Park. A memorial service was held Nov. 12 to honor American soldiers who sacrificed their lives to protect America. JAILYNN ZENGER | Scroll Photography

From the Revolutionary War until the year 2011, almost 3 million Americans died or were wounded serving our country in war, according to www.statisticbrain.com.

To show respect and remember the sacrifices made by American soldiers, Bob Jones, a retired air force colonel and the past state commander for Idaho Veterans of Foreign Wars, as well as other veterans, held a memorial service Nov. 12 at Smith Park in Rexburg.

“It’s a day that we pause and recognize the sacrifice and service of all those who have served in our armed forces; past, present and those serving abroad,” Jones said.

Bob Judy, a retired navy soldier and the junior vice commander of the Idaho Veterans of Foreign Wars, said there are a few different ways that people can show respect for American veterans.

“In my opinion, the biggest thing is honoring our flag. There are so many people today that don’t respect the flag,” Judy said. “When the flag comes by, you salute [it].”

The United States flag, the American eagle and the Declaration of Independence are a few of the symbols that Jones said that a person immediately associates with America.

“All those things are the heart and soul of what the founders were all about in creating this great country. When we see those things, we immediately react with pride for our country. You stand up straight, salute and you pay respect,” Jones said.

Jones said he appreciates when he is out in public wearing something that indicates he is a military person and someone thanks him for his service.

“I think that really is heartfelt,” Jones said.

Jones said that he honors veterans by going to the cemeteries in the area and putting American flags on all the veterans’ grave sites.

He also said that he appreciates when schools and other groups of people put together patriotic performances as a tribute to veterans.

Jones said that he is proud of the service he gave and that he received great opportunities after serving that made it all worthwhile.

“To this day I wouldn’t have changed a thing. It’s a wonderful feeling, being able to serve your country,” Jones said.

Veterans Day was Sunday, Nov. 11, but Jones decided to have the memorial service on Monday instead.

Jones started the day by putting up flags around the city of Rexburg with Judy and other veterans and volunteers. The memorial service happened at noon, and consisted of a flag raising ceremony, the pledge of allegiance, patriotic songs by the Madison High School band, an honor guard firing their weapons to salute, pilots from the Legacy Flight Museum flying over the Smith Park and a moment of silence.

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