The time for hosting family and friends for cookouts has arrived in Idaho, and this year some families won't have familiar, comforting faces seated at their usual spots in the backyard. I paid a recent visit to a southern Idaho cemetery to visit my father who passed away on President's Day of this year, and saw many other former veterans that were laid to rest in the days and weeks after my pap.

As we get closer to the July Fourth holiday, which is the day we celebrate our country's independence and all the soldiers that sacrificed in battle to make it happen, I'm finding myself reflecting back on my father's legacy. He served in both the United States Air Force and Marine Corps., and fought in the Vietnam War. Family barbeques were one of my dad's favorite things about life.

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He would often sit in the same area of the yard and get delivered multiple plates of hot dogs, which were always his top choice of food at gatherings. I think about him when I prep the grill now, which is quite often because I barbeque at least three times a week throughout the year.

I read the names of soldiers that had been laid to rest after my dad at Snake River National Cemetery in Buhl. I saw the grounds for the first time this week and couldn't be happier about dad's final resting place.

God bless our Idaho veterans. Be sure to raise a glass in their honor at upcoming family cookouts.

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