More than seven decades have passed since Pfc. Kenneth Bridger left home.  He’ll be buried this weekend in Twin Falls, next to his mother.  He died fighting at the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea.  He was a teenager.  Because of the harsh cold that plagued American troops in the battle against communist Chinese and North Korean troops, Bridger was left behind.  Chosin became the longest retreat in American military history and took place in Arctic-like conditions.

Bridger was from Washington State, but his family eventually settled in Twin Falls.  His remains arrived at Joslin Field on Tuesday night.  Pastor Paul Thompson was there and photographed some of the patriots there who came to welcome a hero.  Bridger will be buried in a private family ceremony Saturday.  The public can pay its respects along the burial procession, with the exception of Kimberly Road due to traffic safety concerns.  The cortege will leave Parke’s Magic Valley Funeral Home shortly before 1:00 p.m.

Members of the public can gather along Hankins Road, Addison Avenue and Eastland Drive.

I can tell you from personal experience that a show of respect from the community will be greatly appreciated by the family.  Five years ago, an uncle returned 73 years after being declared missing during World War Two.  Seeing scouts, old veterans and strangers line the route and along some hillsides at the cemetery reminded us there are still Americans who appreciate those who gave the last full measure of devotion.

When I came home after the burial, I saw a post on an MIA website directed at my family.  It said we could finally turn off the porch light.

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