Monument outside Boise business more than a family memorial

More than a family memorial.

BOISE - Next week, communities around the country will honor the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military.

But for one Boise company, every day is Memorial Day.

Capital City Heating and Cooling on Curtis Road isn't one of those places that people just stop to shop. But sometimes people do stop by.

"A lot of people come in with just general questions, but we have a lot of people come in to see the memorial," said receptionist Erica Ramsey.

The memorial in front of the business was put together by owner Michael Murphy-Sweet.

"It was part of my way of healing over losing my own brother," said Murphy-Sweet.

His brother, Philip, a commander in the U.S. Navy, died in Iraq in April 2007.

"It hit me hard to just lose him in the blink of an eye, as I'm sure it hit everyone hard," Murphy-Sweet said.

So a couple of years ago, Murphy-Sweet, himself a former U.S. Marine, started piecing together a modest memorial to his brother. A couple of metal cutouts, his own old boots, a flag pole, and the flowers placed by a man he's never met.

"I have nothing to do with the flowers," he said. "There's a gentleman that comes by and he makes sure they are fresh and they look good at all times."

The final piece of the memorial was a wall inscribed with the names of the more than 3,000 Idaho soldiers killed in action since the Korean War.

"I put my father's name with my brother and I highlighted them because they're extra special to me," he said, pointing them out on the wall.

Murphy-Sweet admits that, at first, he made the wall for selfish reasons. But during the process, that narrow focus broadened beyond his own family.

"It dawned on me that, wait a minute, it's not just about me, I'm not the only brother that lost a brother," he said. "And Floyd, my installation manager, is not the only father that lost a son."

Floyd Peek's son, Michael, was killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq.

"It was March 3, 2007," said Peek, remembering the day his son died. "And at the end of March he would have been coming home."

Peek is reminded of his son every day he drives into work, and sees the memorial.

"And you think how many people are on there," he said. "And that's just Idaho. And then you think how many people in this country. And I see that just about every day."

Murphy-Sweet says even if you just glimpse the memorial while driving down Curtis Road, if you think about about all the men and women who died so many miles away, that maybe it will bring them a little closer to home.

"By God, there were some great Idahoans around here and they stepped up and answered the call," he said. "And so their name goes on this wall and stays there forever."

He says there is room to add more names to his memorial, but he's glad there isn't a need to right now.

On Tuesday, Gov. Butch Otter's office announced that it is hoping to identify and celebrate all monuments and memorials honoring the military in Idaho. To do that, it needs your help. To let them know about a story or a memorial in your community, click here.

© 2017 KTVB-TV


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