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Knowing Edwards gives meaning to Memorial Day




A holiday of remembrance is just pithy words and empty phrases, until you put a face in front of them.


Edwards’ gravestone at Prairie View Cemetery in Grangeville.


David Rauzi

You may not know of Burnum S. Edwards. He was an Idaho County guy, born in 1913 and raised in Grangeville where he went to school here and at Clearwater. A few months prior to the U.S. entering the Second World War, Edwards enlisted in the Army that August 1941, attended basic training at Camp Roberts in California, and advanced work on the Hawaiian Islands. He later spent nine months on the Christmas Islands before going to Saipan.

It was July 10, 1944, and Staff Sgt. Edwards was with an amphibious tank division on Saipan when he was killed in action. Four years later—70 years ago this June — Edwards’ remains were returned to Grangeville where they were buried at Prairie View Cemetery with the American Legion rendering military honors.

Idaho County has been fortunate since those years to have suffered few war casualties to its sons and daughters who have enlisted to serve their country — and, more at heart, the communities they worked and played in that they hold close to the heart. Our sacrifices have been blessedly few.

Not so for our country where each life taken was a price too high for spouse, parent, child or friend whose loved one didn’t return home.

Unfortunately, human nature being what it is, the butcher’s bill will come due again.

Edwards was a local guy, one of us, who died while serving his country. Now that you know him a bit better, perhaps Monday’s commemoration will have new meaning and provide a personal connection to the sacrifice of all kinds that comes with duty to one’s country.


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