3 stories to salute local veterans in honor of Veterans Day
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IDAHO FALLS – Monday is Veterans Day, an annual day to pay tribute to the men and women — living or dead — who have served or are currently serving their country.
The day falls on Nov. 11 each year in honor of the “eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” of 1918 that signaled the end of World War I, according to History.com.
Veterans Day began as “Armistice Day” on Nov. 11, 1919 and has been a nationally recognized holiday since 1938.
To commemorate this occasion, we thought it would be appropriate to repost some of the veteran-related stories we’ve done recently to acknowledge the efforts of our local vets.
We hope you enjoy, and to veterans, one and all, thank you for your service.
1) Gravesite of U.S. soldier gets facelift 140 years after his death
Shortly after reposting this story, Jay Hill sent us the following update:
“We finished Phase 2 of the renovation in September of this year. We enlarged the parking lot, installed a pipe and chain-link fence to prevent vehicles from entering the grave area, and also installed several signs. One of which is a summary of who Trooper Glass was and how he ended up being buried on the knoll in Pleasant Valley. A second young man earned his Eagle Scout award for the ‘sign project.'”
“Our last efforts will be next summer. A bench will be installed next to the grave and the unit motto and cavalry insignia signs will be installed, as well.”
Editor’s Note: This story was first published Sept. 6, 2018.
Just off the Stoddard Creek Exit 184, tucked away in the Pleasant Valley area near Spencer, lies the freshly restored gravesite of an American soldier.
The gravesite bears the name of 2nd U.S. Cavalry Trooper Samuel Glass. If that name is not familiar to you, you’re not alone.
Glass died from wounds he received in a largely forgotten battle involving the U.S. Army and the Nez Perce Indians in 1877.
The gravesite’s appearance today is a far cry from what it used to look like when Idaho Falls native Jay Hill first saw it four years ago. Hill first heard about the gravesite from a book he had read about the Battle of Camas Meadows. Glass was one of three men killed in the battle.
On an ATV ride with his wife in the summer of 2014, Hill set out to try to find the soldier’s grave.
“I didn’t have to look very far to see this old grave. When I got over there, I knew the name right off the bat,” Hill tells EastIdahoNews.com. “I told my wife, ‘This is one of the guys,’ and the dates matched up. The second thought I had was how pathetic that grave was. It was a mess.”
It’s not going to look this way for long if I can help it, Hill thought.
2) They risked their lives for our country, now this local vet wants to make sure they’re taken care of
Editor’s Note: This story was first published on June 27, 2018.
It’s something he will remember the rest of his life.
Bob Skinner was on his way home from active-duty service in the navy during Vietnam. It was 1976. While walking through the San Francisco Airport, he was spit on and called a “baby killer.”
Not understanding the reason at the time, he and his comrades went into the restroom and changed into their civilian clothes.
Despite this experience, Skinner considers himself one of the lucky veterans.
“I was on a ship, so I did not go through the mental anguish the people on the ground had,” Skinner tells EastIdahoNews.com.
Skinner also remembers his close friend who did experience mental trauma from the war.
“In my clique of friends was a guy who died by suicide after Vietnam. So (veterans’ mental health issues) hits pretty close to home for me,” he says.
His friend killed himself in 2005 after struggling with depression for many years.
“We talked on occasion, and there was no indication that he had depression at all,” he says. “I often think, ‘Is there something more I could have done?’”
3) 91-year-old military veteran shows off his one-arm push-ups
Editor’s Note: This story was first posted on May 25, 2019.
Meet Eugene Andrews. He’s 91-years-old and served in World War II.
Andrews was drafted into the United States Army and ended up traveling to Japan for the occupation in the Signal Corps.
“I consider that time in the military a blessing,” Andrews told EastIdahoNews.com.
Andrews grew up in Idaho Falls during the Great Depression. He began working at a young age handling cattle before being drafted into the Army. After he returned, he found a job with Andrew Drilling, where he spent 25 years before opening his own insulation company.
Andrews still fits in his uniform and says he kept it in case he’s ever called to serve again. As you can see in the video above, he’s still very fit and wasn’t afraid to show us his one-arm push-ups. He proves to have great strength in more ways than one.
Andrews was able to ride on a vintage war airplane earlier this year when it stopped in Idaho Falls. Click here to read about it.