Sunday, February 10, 2019

Wreaths Across America ~ Idaho State Veterans Cemetery

On a clear and cold December morning in Boise, Idaho, Sally Jackson and friends gather at the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery to pay respect to her husband Captain Arthur J. Jackson, a World War II, United States Marine Corps, Congressional Medal of Honor recipient.

Pictured above from left to right: James Earp; Tamara Earp; Sally Jackson; John Sword.

Sally's dedication and memory of her husband Art inspired artist, John Sword, to create the Medal of Honor Urns that symbolize the strength and courage of the recipients. Each urn is individually handcrafted from wood and  topped by a bronze leaf cast from an actual leaf from Arlington Cemetery. In addition, a special compartment in the urns contains earth from   battlefields from around the world where US soldiers fought and died. Sally then introduced this urn to the Congressional Medal of Honor Society.

James Earp, the bureau chief of the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery, and his wife Tamara first met the Jackson's years ago during their visit to the Veterans Cemetery.  When John created the very first Veterans Ceremonial Urn covers for use during Veteran and spouse committal services, James became good friends with John and his wife Heidi.  James shared the positive experiences with other State Veterans Cemetery directors and the VA's Pacific District Director who requested this program to be implemented at other National Veterans Cemeteries. John has provided over fifty of these urns in eleven states.

Tamara volunteers as the Wreaths Across America location coordinator for The Idaho State Veterans Cemetery. Each year she provides a special Flag that is placed in the wreath to recognize the valor, heroism, and selfless sacrifice for the three Idaho Medal of Honor Recipients, Major Ed Freeman; Colonel Bernard Fisher; and Captain Arthur Jackson laid to rest in the upper section of the Veterans cemetery.

As the group was winding down, a magnificent bird flying in the distance slowly approached.  Once within view it was clearly the  Bald Eagle, a symbol of our Nation's strength and freedom.  This was an impressive conclusion as this gathering of friends completed their visit to honor their loved ones, Veterans and their families.