IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI)- Behind the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Freeman Park stands 1000 flags each representing a fallen hero who gave the ultimate sacrifice. The field has stood in the park every Memorial Day weekend for the past eleven years.
And for members of the Idaho Falls exchange club it's a chance to give back. "I wasn't a member of the armed forces. So, getting involved with the Exchange Club that has a mission in Americanism and helping veterans is, my way of giving back. And we have about 40 club members that feel the same way," said JR Reseigh project chairman for the Field of Honor.
Reseigh adds that for him seeing people visit the field and sharing stories makes it worth it. "The stories that are told by the veterans and their families. We had a veteran here yesterday who told a story of his grandfather that they just buried this year who had received two Purple Hearts in the conflicts that he served in. And they just get very emotional about it. It's amazing."
The field is opened each day with a Flag Ceremony, reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance and singing of the National Anthem. A opening prayer is then read.
The field is leaving its mark on those who come by for a visit.
"Never forget these people and what they're allowed to these people are allowed to wake up every day and have the freedom that they have and just know that it wasn't free and that people have, you know, gave their lives for this. And continue to wake up every day and serve their country. Now, we weren't drafted. We all chose to do this. So just knowing that," said Private First Class Eliajh Johnson who's Active Duty Army.
Johnson adds that seeing the field is a reminder for why he joined. "It just keeps reminding me of what I'm doing and just wake up and just be grateful that I'm allowed to do what I do. And these people behind me, unfortunately, they fought for this country. And, you know, I just wake up every day and just remember that. And yeah, this just reminds me of that."
For Alex Taylor who came to the field with his family he finds the field to have a bit of a personal connection as he thinks of family who are currently serving and who have served. "they're the initial people I think of. And then you just think of all the people who have been here for us. It's and fought for us. Like, it's really cool to see, like just this amount of flags, just kind of shows, like the amount of people that will go out and fight for us. And it's really cool to see, really inspiring," Taylor said.
Shayla Keels came to the field with her family and thought of her husband serving overseas. "My husband is actually deployed right now. And so were you just waiting for him to come home in August."
She adds that having a personal connection to the military changed the weekend's meaning for her. "Oh, we just are more aware of it. I guess We're more aware of the holiday and we're happy to celebrate and celebrate not only him, but everybody else, too."
Keels says the flags remind her of those who don't make it back. "We just love looking at the flags and remembering those who have passed on in service of their country."
Others come to the field and think of family now gone. "My dad was in the Navy, and I miss him," said Richard Hall.
The field will continue to be up until Monday at 4 p.m. Opening ceremonies take place at 10 a.m.