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On the eleventh hour ...

November 12, 2012
One of the most poignant moments of the Veterans Day ceremony was the unveiling of Army Specialist Ethan Martin's name on the Memorial to Fallen Heroes while his parents, Pam and Harv Martin and Kristi and Bob Suprenant, looked tearfully on. Ethan laid his life on the altar of freedom August 7, 2012, while serving in Afghanistan.
All photos courtesy of Mick Mellett
By Mike Ashby
American Legion Post 55

A windy, cool morning could not damper the spirits of the many Boundary County citizens who came together Sunday, November 11, at Veterans Memorial Park in Bonners Ferry to honor local veterans and commemorate Veterans Day.

American Legion Boundary Post 55 has hosted this annual event since the dedication of Veterans Memorial Park several years ago.

Following World War One, every Veterans Day celebration was preceded by the ringing of a bell. That tradition was marked at this year’s local event with eleven peals of a bell to signify the start of the program.

Master of Ceremonies U.S. Marine Lt. Colonel (Retired) Tim Wilson then welcomed the audience to the ceremonies and ordered the posting of our nation’s flag. The Colors were smartly posted by the U.S. Border Patrol and Chaplain Mike Ashby of American Legion Boundary Post 55 offered the opening invocation. A stirring rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner” was sung by Bruce Martins, and Acting Legion Commander Ray Harris led the crowd in reciting “The Pledge of Allegiance.”

Margaret Mellet and Angie Lucas created two beautifully handmade quilts which they presented to two local veterans. Each year Boundary Post 55 nominates two individuals for this honor, with this year’s recipients being Leroy Vogl and Keith Coble. Both gentlemen served in World War Two, Coble serving in the U.S. Army in Germany during the Battle of the Bulge, and Vogl serving with the U.S. Navy in the Pacific theater onboard the USS Honolulu, CL 48.

Both men put their quilts to immediate use, chasing off the chill of the rather cool morning while they watched the remainder of the service.

This year’s keynote speaker was Retired Navy Master Chief Petty officer Ken Toline. Chief Toline served as a navy medic with a Marine rifle company in Viet Nam, receiving our nation’s Silver Star and Purple Heart with two Oak Clusters for three wounds suffered while in combat.

"We the People," he began. "'We the people of the United States of America, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty, to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.' For those of you who know, and for those who do not know, the words I just recited are the words to the preamble of one the greatest documents we the free American people have." To read his full speech, click here.

At the conclusion of Master Chief Toline’s stirring speech, Mr. Wilson called upon the parents of the late Ethan Martin, a Boundary County son killed in Afghanistan earlier this year.

A military escort was provided to his parents as they were led to the Monument of Boundary County’s military killed in action. The engraving of Corporal Martins name on the stone was unveiled for the first time and all military personnel in attendance rendered a hand salute in memory of Corporal Martin.

Chaplain Ashby’s benediction, the playing of Taps and the retiring of the Colors concluded the ceremonies.

American Legion Boundary Post 55 sincerely thanks all who braved the cold day to honor our veterans.

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