Fallen soldier honored by community 141 years after his death
Published at | Updated at
SPENCER — Each crisp, clear note from the brass bugle echoed through the valley and off the trees as veterans and civilians alike stood at attention listening to the sound of taps caress the fallen soldier’s grave.
One-hundred and forty-one years after United States 2nd Cavalry Trooper Samuel A. Glass was mortally wounded by a Nez Perce warrior’s bullet, members of all branches of the military and civilians gathered together to honor his memory and partake in the ceremony that would rededicate his restored gravesite.
“Under the watchful eye of the God of us all and in the name of all veterans in the state of Idaho, I rededicate this grave and this flagpole,” Army Chaplain Mark Christensen said.
During the ceremony, Jay Hill, the project manager for the grave restoration, and retired U.S. Navy Capt. Robert Skinner, who purchased the new gravestone, were presented with coins by Idaho National Guard Land Component Commander Gen. Russell Johnson for their work.
“I realize this day marks a milestone for many and reflects countless hours of dedicated personal time and expense spanning well over three years,” Johnson said.
Throughout the restoration of the grave, Hill worked with numerous people in the community – including 15-year-old Austin Bitsoi. He earned a Boy Scouts of America Eagle Scout award for his work on the grave and for installing the new flagpole.
“It made me feel like I actually did something special,” Bitsoi said of the recognition he received.
Bitsoi and World War II veteran Marine Sgt. Harry Pederlin raised the flag above Glass’ grave for the rededication.
During the ceremony, time was taken to recognize the sacrifice the Nez Perce people made in their plight to make it to the Canadian border, refusing to be placed on a reservation.
“What they accomplished — if you looked at the map, you’ll probably have the same feeling that I had,” Hill said. “It’s incredible what those people accomplished. They only had approximately … 230 warriors but there were over 500 non-combatants with them.”
Retired Idaho National Guard Brigadier Gen. Robert Lytle said the 2nd Cavalry, which Glass was a member of, has been part of every conflict the U.S. has been in since the Seminole Indian War to the present.
“To me, it was worth the drive to come out here and commemorate a fellow, fallen trooper,” Lytle said. “And to show the people of this country we never forget our comrades. We’ll always come and pay them the respect they deserve.”