The Morning News â€” Leslie Mielke
Todd Jansen is one of the color guards at the Memorial Day service Monday at Grove City Cemetery in Blackfoot.
BLACKFOOT â€” A nice crowd gathered at Grove City Cemetery in Blackfoot to remember veterans who served to our nation at the Memorial Day service Monday morning.
First Sgt. Mike Merlette, retired, was the guest speaker.
Merlette served in active duty and in the reserves for 35 years.
First known as Decoration Day, the tradition of honoring war dead started in May 1868 to honor Civil War veterans, Merlette said. This observance now honors all soldiers and loved ones and is known as Memorial Day.
"A highlight of my career was training and mentoring young soldiers," Merlette said.
"One of the difficulties of my job was when I needed to pick soldiers to take them out on a convoy in Iraq, knowing I was putting their lives on the line," he said. "These people gave so much dedication.
"We serve to protect your freedom and your way of life," said Merlette. "Because of them, our freedoms live."
Twenty-four wreaths were presented by various civic groups to honor veterans, including those missing in action. Graves were festooned with flags to honor veterans.
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