Idaho Honor Guard receives honor

Idaho Honor Guard receives honor

Credit: Xanti Alcelay/KTVB

Idaho Honor Guard receives honor

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by Alyson Oüten
Idaho's NewsChannel 7

KTVB.COM

Posted on November 11, 2009 at 4:20 PM

Updated Saturday, Nov 23 at 10:19 PM

 

BOISE -- They are the brave men and women who served during World War II -- veterans whose numbers are dwindling at an astonishing rate.

There are approximately two million surviving WWII veterans, but every day, on average, 1,800 die.

And when they do, or when any veteran of any age or rank dies, they are entitled to a military funeral with honors.

"To do it every day and honor the veterans, it's a passion, it's part of my heart," said Sgt. Rosalie Bedke.

"For me it's just what I do.  It's part of me now," said SSG Bou Harrold.

In Idaho, there are just over 100 members of the Honor Guard.  It's strictly voluntary,something they do on top of their regular military and civilian duties.  And, this year alone, those citizen soldiers will take part in 1,000 funerals -- playing taps, folding and presenting the flag, honoring those who've served our country.

"The ones we bury made the ultimate sacrifice, but we make that small sacrifice to honor them," said Bedke.

"When we honor our fallen vets, when we honor soldiers that come back from Iraq and Afghanistan we only get one chance to honor these guys and we want to make sure we do it right for them," said Harrold.

That dedication to detail recently earned this Honor Guard an honor of its own.  After first winning regionals, members of the Idaho team took third place in a national competition in Fort Meyer, Virginia.

"We spent [up to] 14 hours each day training, prepping our uniforms, going over our sequences," said Harrold.

"The competition for me, it was an awesome experience, it was great to represent our state in what we do and to do a great job, but it's really about the veterans," said Bedke.

Sporting their third place medals, the team was additionally commended last month with a local ceremony attended by members of the Idaho National Guard.  

"That was emotional.  To be recognized and appreciated by my peers for what I do, because what we do is not about us.   We don't wear name tags for a reason, because it's not about me.  I'm representing that soldier who passed when I put on this uniform and honor him," said Bedke.  "It was an awesome feeling, especially to have them come out and appreciate what we do and shake our hands was cool." 

"I can't thank them enough," said Major General Lawrence LaFrenz. "They are a credit to every one who wears this uniform, they are a credit to every citizen in our state and they're a credit to every citizen of our nation."

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