The massive flag flying at Crossroads Point grabs your attention from the highway.  I believe, however, it’s the 3,000 smaller flags that bring about a visceral reaction.  Each banner represents a life lost 20 years ago.

Not long after the tragedy of 9/11 I read a story where the writer explained nobody ever would really know the exact death toll.

Not long after the tragedy of 9/11 I read a story where the writer explained nobody ever would really know the exact death toll.  There were people working at the World Trade Center with an immigrant status in shadows.  New York City also has a large homeless population and the story was the same in 2001.  Some of those people were lost to their fellow Americans long before the fateful day.  We’re talking about people who wouldn’t have been missed the following morning.

A woman passing out sheets of paper in Jerome smiled and handed me a copy.  A bullet point says you can purchase one of the smaller flags for 30 dollars.  Your gift will help pay for future commemorations.

During Saturday’s event I met a man from New Zealand.  For the last 35 years he has called the United States home.  This country survived a nightmare 20 years ago and in many respects we now live within a much larger surveillance state.  He told me this country still remains the beacon for the rest of the world.  We talked about the pandemic lockdowns and strict rules in his native land.  He reflected he would much rather be here and especially in Idaho.

I sent six dozen pictures from the Jerome commemoration to friends around the country.  One responded late Saturday.  He’s a highly decorated veteran who served in Vietnam.  One of his grandfathers was one of Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders.  My friend said, “Thanks Bill, a great state and really great people.”  Then he said he wants to visit before his days are over.

The depth of patriotism we witness in Idaho will remain long after most of us are gone.

LOOK: 100 years of American military history