Idaho Falls veterans will be honored on Veterans Day by the American Legion and at a variety of other events surrounding the 100th anniversary of the World War I armistice.
On the holiday this Sunday, the American Legion Post 56 will host a breakfast at the Veterans Memorial Building, 485 Constitution Way. In addition to providing free food for veterans and anyone else who wants to attend, the event will also show off some of the renovations that the building has undergone over the last two years.
Retired veteran and former American Legion commander Bob Skinner explained that having the historic Veterans Day anniversary fall on a Sunday allowed the Legion’s members to focus on hosting their own event that day while still attending school events and ceremonies on the surrounding days.
“We’ve been doing planning on this for some time. It’s gonna be a pretty big deal,” Skinner said.
After the breakfast, Legion members and other veterans will be gathering at the Idaho Falls War Memorial along the Snake River to take part in a national event. At 11:11 a.m. on Nov. 11, groups across the country will ring bells to commemorate the centennial anniversary of the end of World War I. Bonneville County Sheriff’s Sgt. Karl Casperson, himself a Navy veteran, pitched the idea for the city and suggested they use the replica Liberty Bell from the Bonneville County Courthouse.
“I thought it was a great idea, being a veteran and wanting to honor everyone that served and those that gave their lives in service,” Casperson said.
The first Veterans Day event was declared by President Woodrow Wilson in 1919 to honor the American troops who had recently returned from World War I, then known as “the war to end all wars.” Congress made the day a federal holiday in 1938, though it was called Armistice Day at the time.
The American Legion is far from the only group holding events for veterans this weekend. Here are some of the other celebrations planned for the days surrounding the holiday:
• The city of Idaho Falls is holding a free Veterans Day ceremony at the Idaho Falls War Memorial at 11 a.m. today. Speeches will be given by Skinner, city Mayor Rebecca Casper, and retired state Rep. Linden Bateman for the 100th anniversary of World War I. Renovations to the War Memorial were completed earlier this week, including the installation of a flagpole that will be used for the first time during the ceremony. There also will be a rifle salute from the American Legion and music by the American Heritage Charter School Choir and the Idaho Falls Fire Department Pipes and Drums.
• In Pocatello, the Farm Bureau will hold its eighth annual “Salute to Idaho Veterans” beginning at 10:30 a.m. today. Retired Army Sgt. Major Leslie Chapman, of Idaho Falls, who received the Distinguished Cross of Service and six Purple Hearts, will be the speaker at the event. The Farm Bureau also will present the winning essays from its statewide essay contest for Idaho schoolchildren. The event at 275 Tierra Vista Drive is free for veterans, servicemen and their families.
• In Idaho Falls School District 91, Veterans Day events will be held today at 7:30 a.m. at Longfellow Elementary School and at 2 p.m. at Eagle Rock Middle School. On Monday, events will be held at Westside Elementary School (9:45 a.m.) and Dora Erickson Elementary School (2:15 p.m.). The Idaho Falls High School band will be performing a special Veterans Day concert at the Colonial Theater at 6:30 p.m. Monday.
• In Bonneville Joint School District 93, Veterans Day events will be held on Monday at Rocky Mountain Middle School (8:40 a.m.), Bonneville High School (9:30 a.m.), Iona Elementary School (1:15 p.m.) and Ammon Elementary School (1:30 p.m.). That evening will also have a special program by Hillview Elementary held at Thunder Ridge High School at 6:30 p.m.