POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI) - The Pearl Harbor Memorial bridge over the Portneuf river was the site of a honored Pocatello tradition Wednesday. The tradition itself was started by Pearl Harbor survivor and Pocatello native Christopher Harame.
People gathered to honor the lives lost after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor 81 years ago.
As part of the tradition speakers went through the events from the attack, read an excerpt from Harame's book where he shares what he experienced. Melissa Hartman, the Bannock County Veterans Services, says after Harames' death in 2013 the tradition took an unfortunate pause.
"Last year for the 80th commemoration, Bannock County felt it important to bring it back into the eyesight and, the forefront of of our residents so that we didn't forget what the cost of freedom is. That day changed us who we are as Americans. Much like September 11th changed us. We need to remember we need to honor that," Hartman said.
Part of the tradition is dropping rose petals from the bridge into the the flowing river below. Each bag of petals represented a different ship and her crew. She says the tradition continues so that we all can continue to remember that day.
"Ultimately, we're Americans. We unite when we need to do it. And that's what happened on December 8th and that's what happened on September 12th. So we have to experience it's the seventh and the 11th in order to really be able to appreciate what we have today. So if we don't honor those days, if we don't remember those days, man, we're losing the next day. We're losing what happens on the eighth. We're losing what happens on the 12th. So important for us to remember in our community and to be able to honor our veterans in the sacrifice because it's an entire family that sacrifices. It's a community that sacrifices when we lose somebody," Hartman said.
Bannock County veterans memorial association president Teresa Vialpando dropped a bag of petals into the river. She says thinking about what happened that day was overwhelming.
"Just taking a moment to stop and think about put yourself in the shoes, I guess, of of those that were there that day, you know, how they woke up. And, you know, it's just another another day. And and all of a sudden, their whole entire life was thrown into chaos," Vialpando said.
She says it was difficult to watch those petals fall into the water.
"It seems so simple to just toss those pedals over. But as you were watching them fall into the water, like for me, it just catches it catches my breath and in my heart, you know, and I, I just watch those pedals fall and they get carried down the water. And all I can think of are the people, you know, that we lost and what that what that means to me personally and and just it's very it's very emotional," she said.
Among the 1117 people who lost their lives 11 were from Idaho.
"Including Seaman Second Class William Orville Evans 27, of Geneva, Petty Officer Second Class Curtis James Haynes, 22 of Boise, Seaman Second Class Barry Stanley Jolly, 18 of Burely. Petty Officer Third Class Kenneth Frank Kennard 23, of Payette. Seaman Second Class Frank Cook Loveland 18, of Idaho Falls. Sergeant Second Class Byron Dally Mason, 29 of Ririe, Private First Class Francis Clayton Mostek 21 of Dover. Ship's Cook Second Class Thomas Leah Oseley, 22 of Hagerman. Seaman Second Class Gordon Elliott Veeder, 19 of Boise, Seaman First Class William Alfred Shannon 20 Hometown Unknown. Sergeant First Class William Arthur Marsh, 23, of Twin Falls. According to our records, Marsh was the only one from Idaho whose body was recovered upon his return to Pocatello after serving in the Navy," Bannock County Clerk Jason Dixon said.
Organizers hope to continue the tradition next year. The Pocatello Veterans Memorial Building Museum also hosts a Veteran Museum a Pearl Harbor exhibit that is on display.