May 24, 2019
Writer: Jaime Strobel
On Monday, family and friends will gather together and remember the lives of those who sacrificed their lives for our freedom. Memorial Day honors men and women who served our country and gave their life in military service.
In honor of the veterans in Madison County, Madison Fire Department’s Pipe Brigade will make its way throughout Archer, Burton, Sugar City and Rexburg cemeteries playing their bagpipes.
“We like to give back to the community that supports us so well and we can’t think of a better way to give back to them then support them in honoring their loved ones,” said Robert Kohler, vice-president of Madison Fire Department Pipe Brigade.
Stan Crittenden, president of the Madison Fire Department’s Pipe Brigade, said many fire departments along the east coast have been invested in the history of Scottish and Irish firemen, and when members of the fire department passed away, they would honor them by bringing along their heritage and playing the bagpipes for them.
“We wanted to bring that heritage out here into Idaho,” he said.
The Madison Pipe Brigade started in 2009. A majority of the pipe brigades are fire department related, Crittenden said. There are currently five department related bands that play in Idaho.
“The purpose behind our pipe band is just to give back,” Crittenden said.
The pipe brigade is supported by the community through donations and fundraisers. Members of the band volunteer their time and money for lessons and playing for the public.
“It’s our way to give back to a community that richly supports us in our daily job and a very personal way we can support them,” Kohler said.
One of Kohler’s favorite experiences with the pipe brigade is playing for the families of two members of the fire department who passed away.
“It’s very touching for us to play for ones that we care and love about as well and to see that affect their family too,” he said.
At 9 a.m. they will play at Plano and Sutton cemeteries in Madison County. At 9:50 a.m. they will play at Burton and Sugar cemeteries, and at 10:45 a.m. they will play at the Rexburg Cemetery.
At the end of the morning, they will usually play for 50-100 people.