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Field of Heroes display opens Friday morning

10th display brings 6,684 remembrance markers

10th display Field of Heroes memorial in Pocatello

POCATELLO, Idaho - For the 10th time, the Field of Heroes display will officially open in Pocatello Friday.

The memorial is to remember military personnel who have died since the war on terror began after the 9/11 attacks.

This year there are 6,684 markers. They added 250 more to remember those who have died in the last year.

Each marker represents  the life of a daughter, a son, a hero.

"That really is the cost of war," said Heidi Young, in charge of public relations for the memorial. "That field is what it's all about."

The Field of Heroes has a quiet, stirring power to anyone who visits, and anyone who volunteers their time to make it possible.

"Fortunately we live in an incredible community," Young said. "They come out and they just make it happen and they get it done. As organizers you always worry, if you're going to get enough people and if it's going to happen. But it always happens."

Each soldier that has died in the war on terrorism has been remembered since 2004 with these markers.

The field becomes hallowed ground after Friday's 10 a.m. opening ceremony. Anyone can go at any time after the ceremony to pay their respects. The field, which never closes for the four-day period, is guarded and lit from Friday morning through Monday night.

"Just come out here and experience it," said Young. "Until you come out here and see it, it really is just a picture on a postcard or a number on a newspaper headline."

Those I spoke with Thursday also said the meaning for them is personal. Susan Larson, a military wife, said it's hard not to feel something when you're looking at spouses of loved ones represented as markers in a field.

"It's still 6,684 people whose lives were cut short," Larson said. "They didn't get to finish what they needed to do in their life."

This year they added a candlelight vigil called Silent Wounds. This vigil will honor those with post-traumatic stress syndrome, traumatic brain injury, and families who have lost loved ones and bear scars that no one can see.

They have also added lighted podiums that provide details about World Wars I and II, the Korean War, Gulf War and Vietnam, and are planning on making more for upcoming years.

These brave men and women have paid the ultimate sacrifice. They've given you the freedom to see this story, and the freedom for me to report it.

For a list of all the activities happening at the field of heroes, click here.

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