May 31, 2022
A crowd of over 120 people braved the cold rain to attend the Idaho Field of Heroes closing ceremony at 6:00 yesterday evening. The ceremony began with an opening prayer by Todd Johnson, Director of Veteran Student Services at ISU, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance and a moving rendition of the National Anthem. After thanking the event sponsors, Bannock County Veterans Services Coordinator Melissa Hartman introduced local veterans Jason and Bethany Stanley.
The Stanleys have over 35 years of military service between them, including three combat deployments. Jason credits his 17 years of military service with instilling in him the passion to serve others that continues to shape his career. He said, “as a Veteran and a Christian, I’m uniquely aware of the fact that my life is not my own. It’s been bought and paid for in two distinct ways: first, by the blood of Jesus Christ that was shed on Calvary nearly 2,000 years ago; and second, by the sacrifice of each and every person whose name is printed on one of these markers behind me. I want to challenge each of you to live a life of sacrifice, to honor the price that has been paid for you.”
Bethany contrasted the stress and chaos she experienced in her military career with the calm and peace she is finding in her transition to civilian life, crediting God with providing needed comfort and strength. She said, “While I will likely continue to struggle every day with the invisible injuries that I have sustained from both my combat deployment as well as the day to day obligations, stresses, and toxic nature of the military, I have found some peace through God alone as I enter this new phase of life that He prepared for me.”
The ceremony closed with the retiring of the colors, followed by a 21-gun salute.