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Memorial Day Ceremony Features Screaming Warthogs, Circling Raptors
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A Mountain Home Air Force Bases soldier plays “Taps” on an electronic trumpet at the end of Monday’s Memorial Day Service in Hailey.
   
Tuesday, May 28, 2024
 

STORY AND PHOTOS BY KAREN BOSSICK

Art Dahl served aboard the USS Mansfield destroyer ship from 1967 to 1969 during the Vietnam War while it performed blockade patrol and intercepted junk and sampan traffic bound for South Vietnam.

The Hailey man was aboard ship as it moved towards land at 30 miles per hour to provide gunfire support on one combat mission. And the ship and some of the men were hit as it was mistakenly turned inward, rather than outward, during its getaway.

But his most memorable moment was that of looking out onto a couple hundred people cheering, a band playing, as the ship pulled into a California port at the end of its duty.

 
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The Mountain Home Air Force Honor Guard brings in the colors.
 

“I saw a 51-year-old grey-haired lady on the pier where civilians weren’t allowed. And she yelled, ‘Do you want to meet your son?’ ” he recalled.

Dahl didn’t wait for permission to leave ship, nor did he wait for the gangplank to be lowered. He jumped off and ran to the side of his wife Bobbi and their son John who had been born just hours earlier.

Dahl hasn’t forgotten the destroyer on which he served with 200 others—he regularly meets with 12 of the officers he served with over Zoom to chat about the war and current events. And he did not forget those he served with on Memorial Day as he and his wife took their seats on the front row at the Hailey Memorial Day Ceremony.

“I went through something you never forget,” he said, sporting his USS Mansfield cap and Navy T-shirt. “When you’re with these men 24 hours a day for three years, you don’t forget.”

 
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Art and Bobbi Dahl stand next to the Memorial Wreath.
 

Cloudless blue skies and a gentle breeze greeted the Dahls and a few hundred others who turned out for the observance.

“Those who are not here with us today are in the gentle breeze that’s blowing,” noted emcee Geegee Lowe, adding that 446 men and women who served the country are known to rest in the cemetery.

John Primrose remembered the sacrifice of those who fought for the freedom of those in the audience as he delivered the Memorial Prayer.

“Please be with those who wear the uniform who serve our country every day,” he added.

 
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Pipe Sgt. Van Bradley and Piper Cameron Swindler of the Boise Highlanders perform “Amazing Grace.”
 

As six men and women placed the Battlefield Cross next to the Veterans Memorial Stone, Lowe told how the wooden sculpture featuring a helmet atop an inverted rifle bayonet and combat boots signifying the soldier’s final march also featured a dog tag inscribed with the words “American Soldier--Blaine County, Idaho.”

“We remember,” she said. “The true memory of Memorial Day is here today.”

Earlier in the week, volunteers placed tiny American flags and red carnations on the graves of known soldiers. The color red signifies the valor and passion fallen soldiers had for their country

Warthogs from Mountain Home Air Force Base screamed overhead as Higher Ground’s Kate Dobbie told how her organization helps heal American warriors who are still fighting battles after coming home.

 
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Andrew Schiers and others lower the Battlefield Cross, which was carved by Bellevue wood carver Glenn Carter.
 

And Joan Davies recounted the poem “In Flanders Field” as she pointed out a ceramic poppy that was one of more than 800,000 that spilled from the Tower of London to the ground several years ago as the United Kingdom memorialized British soldiers who had been killed during World War I.

On this particular Memorial Day even the wildlife seemed to pay homage to the fallen in grand fashion.

“Look, Mom!” one small girl pointed to the sky. And all eyes looked heavenward as a large raptor circled the ceremony, a long snake dangling from its talons.

PHoOT

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