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Local high school hosting Veterans Day military flyover

Idaho Falls

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Photo provided by Bonneville School District 93

IDAHO FALLS – Those who live in Idaho Falls may notice a military plane in Idaho Falls’ airspace Wednesday morning.

A KC-135 airplane with the 151st Air Refueling Wing of the Utah Air National Guard will occupy the skies at 10 a.m. as it flies over Thunder Ridge High School for a Veterans Day Flyover.

Rick Anderson, the organizer of the event, tells the purpose is to give students and faculty a chance to show their support for veterans.

“I think it would be great for the kids to see it — the students and the faculty — especially with COVID and everything else they’ve been through this past year. It gives them an opportunity to see what veterans do and to show their patriotism towards them,” Anderson says.

The plane will take off from the Iona area and will be in the air for about five minutes. It will make a one-time pass over the school, before lowering its boom and make a slow pass around the football stadium, where students and faculty will be gathered to watch it.

“It’s going to throttle all four engines and will get pretty loud. (The pilot) will put on a little bit of a show, but it’s just going to be a one-time pass for everybody,” says Anderson.

A virtual Veterans Day video program will immediately follow for students and faculty.

Anderson, who began his teaching career at Thunder Ridge in 2019, says he was impressed with the school’s Veterans Day program last year. As a 31-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force, he has a special place in his heart for them and wanted to do something to help students honor those who have served.

“I’m a big lover of the Air Force and all that it stands for,” he says. “Our country is very divided right now, but Veterans Day is a time we can all come together and agree on one thing: that our military men and women have done a tremendous job of keeping us free and making sure we have a bright future.”

Rick Anderson | Courtesy photo

Anderson joined the Air Force after graduating high school in Great Falls, Montana and later graduated from college.

His experiences have taken him all over the world, but his favorite experience happened in his hometown about eight years ago.

“I was the officer in charge of military funerals,” says Anderson. “These funerals were … (for) military members who died from old age or sickness and were getting military honors. I was the officer who handed the folded flag to next of kin. I’ve seen and done a lot of things, but (doing that) … was the most rewarding thing.”

Anderson earned his master’s degree shortly before retiring from the Air Force in 2018. He decided to pursue teaching because he loves being around young people and his son attends Thunder Ridge High School.

He hopes the students who witness the flyover will gain a greater appreciation for their country, despite the polarizing and turbulent times we’re living in.

“We’re going to get through these tough times and we’ve been through tough times before,” he says. “It’s really cool to do something that’s larger than yourself. (Our veterans have certainly done that), and we owe a great deal to (them).”