POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - It's a one-of-a-kind tribute that takes place every Memorial Day weekend. As we approach the holiday, the Idaho Field of Heroes Memorial at Century High School welcomes people to pay tribute to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.
This Memorial Day weekend, there are thousands of tributes, but what makes this one so unique is how each fallen soldier is recognized by name, dating back to 2001. For the past 15 years, this tribute has brought thousands of people to Pocatello to honor our fallen soldiers.
Six thousand nine hundred and sixty-six crosses in the main field, the coordinator for Idaho Field of Heroes Memorial, Hiedi Young, said. That comprises all the losses from our country since 9/11, both in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Unfortunately, that number grows every year.
"We're still losing folks. In fact, one of our latest was a young man out of Horseshoe Bend, here in Idaho. Michael Osorio, and his cross is out here," Young said.
Each cross represents a service member and even has that person's name on it. Ninety-six of them were from Idaho.
"We individualize the loss. Every one of those nearly 7,000 loses are important. So each marker has a name, the date they died, their rank and then their casualty number. So if someone wants to find a specific individual, we can show them exactly where they're at."
Gold Star families from all over the state come here to pay their respects, lay flowers, pictures and decorations on the crosses of their loved ones.
"It brings up a sense of comfort for them. And as long as that continues to happen. We'll continue to do this. This community really has embraced this. It takes us 3,000 man-hours and four days to put this field together, and it happens every single year," Young said.
The memorial organizers use statistics from the U.S. Department of Defense to get the exact date for when each person died.