Everett Maltbie, who served with the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War, paused Monday after being asked what he hoped Americans brought away Monday from Memorial Day.
“I hope they get that freedom is not free,” said Maltbie, who served on a ship and later on a speedy boat that patrolled the Mekong River Delta as part of a group known as River Rats. “Freedom is very expensive. There were a lot of lives lost over the years.”
Maltbie, who lives in Emmett, took part Monday in a pair of Memorial Day ceremonies. One took place at a war memorial located on Freezeout Hill, leading north into Emmett along Idaho 16. The other took place later at the Emmett Cemetery, where dozens of men and woman who served this nation both in war and in peacetime are buried.
Denton Bassett, who was born in Emmett, grew up in Mountain Home and now lives in Emmett, said Memorial Day has always played a major role in his family. Several members of his family have served in the military over the years, he said.
“Memorial Day was always a patriotic day. It wasn’t just a picnic,” said Bassett, who served in the U.S. Army in the early 1980s. “It was to remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice and allowed us to do what we’re able to do.”
He said he hopes other people also give thanks to those who served in the military and those who gave their lives protecting Americans’ freedoms.
“It’s an emotional day for me,” he said.
Dozens of small flags placed at the graves of veterans fluttered in the wind at the Emmett Cemetery, located on a bluff north of town overlooking the Payette River. Larger flags placed on poles lined the main entry road into the cemetery from Idaho 52.
About 75 people attended the service — one of many in the Treasure Valley — which included a talk on freedom by Emmett Mayor Gordon Petrie and taps performed by Sgt. 1st Class Thomas Butler, a recruiting officer based in Emmett for the Idaho National Guard.
Richard Vallie, who served in the late 1960s in Vietnam with the Seabees, the construction arm of the U.S. Navy, said he reflects on those who served and those who never returned home.
“I remember all of the people who served and died for us,” said Vallie, who lives in Emmett.