Our nation’s heroes honored in Pocatello
POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI)- Well wishers visited the Mountain View Cemetery to pay tribute to fallen soldiers. Pocatello Civil Air Patrol and Pocatello Chapter of the P.O.W. M.I.A. (Prisoner of War) (Missing in Action) Organization placed wreaths on the soldier's graves.
Mike Smith, Auxiliary Officer for the Civil Air Patrol, says they spend a lot of time preparing for the ceremony before placing the wreaths on the graves. "We want to honor the veterans who are alive and those here who are deceased, who served this country and essentially paid the ultimate price. So it's very important to us that, we get it right."
The opening ceremony represented each branch of the military. Smith says there's an important reason for placing the final wreath, because it honors the soldiers still missing or Prisoners of War. "We've been doing it for 17 years now. And as you saw, there were in excess of 93,000 of them. So it's a very large number and that's an important group to recognize who never came home."
Yvonne Aprato the executive director of the POW*MIA Pocatello chapter says it's an emotional day and it all starts during the ceremony. "When Taps is going, the tears slow down the face. And when you go out, you see these gravestones, you'll see the years that they actually served. Some of them will put the markers of what conflict they actually died in, it's very emotional."
Smith echoed the emotions of the day, but says their preparation helps them on keeping their focus while holding the ceremony. "We spend a great deal of our energy and resources getting ready for this day of the year. We do other veterans events as well. But this one is a big one for us. And so we'll spend a lot of time preparing for this and it is emotional for everybody."
Aprato added that her and her follow POW*MIA members goal is to honor each veteran who is present in the cemetery. "We do have quite a few markers that don't have anything notating their military service on there. And so it's important to contact us or to contact any of the organizations so we can make sure to honor somebody in your family who has passed. We don't want them to be forgotten. We want them to be remembered."
Smith says to honor his fellow service men and women in this way, and continue their legacy in later generations. "We like to make sure that not only the young people attend this event, but local the community also are made aware of the veterans in the sacrifices that this event represents."
For more on the Wreaths Across America event and what it represents you can find that here. You can also have the POW*MIA organization place a wreath on a family members grave if you wish. You can find their contact information here.