BONNERS FERRY — As the parade ended on Memorial Day, many people moved on to the Grandview Cemetery for the annual Memorial Day Ceremony on Monday, May 27. Under sunny skies, flags waved with the wind — large flags lining the drive, and small flags placed on veteran’s graves throughout the cemetery.
Kenneth Toline, Adjutant, American Legion Post 55 was the Master of Ceremonies for the event that combined tradition with some new additions.
The Boundary County Fire Service Honor Guard began the ceremony, followed by an invocation by Jaak Sanders, Chaplain, American Legion Post 55. The event unfolded before the audience who had gathered, in seats and standing around the perimeter, to all honor and remember those that gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country.
Following tradition, a boy scout was chosen to speak, and this year it was Josiah Martin who read an editorial from a newspaper.
“The Memorial Day weekend is upon us, a three-day weekend that for most Americans marks the start of the summer season. Many will celebrate appropriately with barbecues and outdoor activities with family and friends,” Martin read. “However, amidst our festivities, we should not forget that Memorial Day is America’s most solemn national holiday, marking our nation’s tribute to those who made the Supreme Sacrifice for our country.”
Toline then introduced a new addition to the ceremony.
“All of you who have served, will understand. When you reach the end of your tour, we talk about passing the torch, carrying the pack forward. Today in my presence, we have two young men, who are going to carry the pack for us, pick up that torch and carry it forward,” Toline said. “It is my honor today to ask them to tell you why they decided to join.”
Jesse Bradley, enlisted with the United States Army, and Preston Coon, enlisted with the United States Marines, took turns speaking.
“I have always wanted to join the military since I was a little kid,” Bradley told the audience, going on to explain why he chose this path.
“I am excited and I am ready to take upon me the challenge of becoming a United States Marine,” said Coon, also explaining his choice.
“I just want to say to all the veterans out there, in the crowd and anywhere — thank you for your service,” Coon said at the end of his speech.
Distinguished Young Woman Katie Summerfield came up and spoke to the audience.
“We often take for granted the freedoms that we are so lucky to have, but it is our duty to remember how much others have had to give for us to have such freedoms,” Summerfield said. “To those that have served in the past, and those who serve today, we honor you and thank you.”
Guest speaker for the ceremony was Teresa Rae, Lt. Col, U.S. Army Retired. She spoke about the different Memorial Day ceremonies that she and her husband had attended around the country, and how touched they were by how Boundary County chooses to remember.
“Most of us use Memorial Day to remember and pay tribute to our loved ones that have preceded us in death, but we also understand that this one day of the year — designated as Memorial Day — serves as a deliberate day to pause, to remember, and to honor those that paid the ultimate sacrifice with their lives, serving and fighting for our great country so that we can continue to be free,” Rae said. “I know that I speak on the behalf of everyone here today, that we are grateful and indebted to their sacrifice, and encourage them to rest in peace, knowing that their deaths were not in vain.”
Following tradition, the ceremony finished with the Honor Guard Salute, Bugle Taps, Benedictions and the Retiring of the Colors. The audience then dissolved at the conclusion, mingling and shaking hands, while others assisted in taking down the flags.
But mostly — they remembered.