By Henry Netherland

Preserving the legacies of those who served


Henry Netherland, Pathfinder

Swan Valley Veterans Richard Wiseman and Ray Haera drop the ceremonial wreath into the Swan River as "Taps" play in the background.

SWAN VALLEY - Veterans and residents gathered together on the Cold Creek Bridge in Condon to honor fallen military members at their Memorial Day ceremony Monday, May 31. During the ceremony, Edward Klassen, Swan Valley American Legion Post 63 commander, spoke about the history of Memorial Day and its incarnations across the U.S. before it became a national holiday in 1971.

"These American veterans of all American conflicts are at rest now," he said. "We must bear the burden of carrying this fight for freedom for all those who sacrificed. Although the politics of the day may find the love of country, for those who have fallen in the pursuit of freedom for all men out of fashion, those that have given their sons and daughters to see this nation lead the trumpet of freedom will never forget every man, woman, child breathe free this day because of the blood, sweat and tears of everybody that gave it all. God bless those who have fallen ... and those to come."

Following Klassen's speech, they held a moment of silence as well as a time for veterans and family members to speak. Veterans Richard Wiseman and Ray Haera then dropped the ceremonial wreath into the Swan River as taps played over the speakers in the back.

Henry Netherland, Pathfinder

Jennie and Grace Siloti stand next to the wreath they made for Condon's annual Memorial Day Ceremony on Cold Creek Bridge.

Wiseman served from 1965 to 1969 in the Navy Seabees where he spent two years on land in Vietnam. He was inspired to join the Navy by his cousin Tony Longest who served for 31 years.

"I think it's one of the most important things [that] we remember those people that didn't make it back," Wiseman said. "More than anything, that's what this is all about. And I had three friends that didn't make it back."

Haera served in Thailand during the Vietnam War from 1966 to 1967 with the Air Force. His father Bob and his brother Niel were both in the Navy during World War II and Vietnam respectively.

"This is something that I would never miss," Haera said. "This is an awesome day."

Jennie and Grace Siloti were responsible for the construction and preparation of the wreath.

After the ceremony, Condon Community Church provided sack lunches for veterans in attendance.


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