MARYSVILLE, Kan. (KSNT) – Every year in Marysville, three men make sure military and American flags are flowing atop their bridges, they put them up themselves in fact. Two are veterans and the work they do represents the ultimate sacrifice made by so many more.
When you enter Marysville from the west or south, the first thing you see from before memorial day through November are flags.
“When they’re not up, you’re missing something.”
“It’s naked, isn’t it.”
“It’s almost like you don’t have a greeting coming into town.”
“And then when we put them back up, it’s ‘Wow! They’re back.'”
At first, they were just bridges, but veteran Greg Boss had a better idea,
A friend of mine, Jim Keller, here in Marysville, and I got together and we thought, you know, it would be really, really cool if we could dedicate one of the bridges to Mike Martin,” Army Private First class (ret.) Greg Boss said.
Martin lost his life in Vietnam, Boss knew him well.
“We flew in the same airplane clear to Vietnam together, we graduated from school together, best friends,” Boss recalled.
Another Marysville family followed suit and had the second bridge dedicated, but there was still something missing.
“A couple of years after that, I notice there were flags on the bridges, and me being a Vietnam veteran I thought, those are absolutely gorgeous. Well, the guy I drink coffee with almost every day forgot to tell me they were going to do that,” Boss laughed. “Jim breeding and Pat Ellenbecker are the ones who actually did that.”
Breeding, a Korean war vet, and his son in law Ellenbecker made that next step, the idea coming from Pat’s days with Union Pacific.
“There’s a bridge up in Kearney, Nebraska we kept going under and they had the various flags on there and I kinda like the looked of that. So we got together with my father in law and said it might be pretty cool if we could put some of those up here” Pat Ellenbecker said.
Breeding, a marine, was quick to defer credit.
“Pat had the idea and did the work and Greg came along and did more work.,” Marine Sergeant (ret.) Jim Breeding said.
But he and 60 other vets in full uniform made sure no semantics would get in the way of their tribute. They met up with local officials to support the idea when it first was made public.
“Oh, it’ll take years to get permission, and within a week he’d called and said hey they gave you permission to go ahead and do that,” said Breeding.
An do that they did, for every veteran passing through and the ones still in Marysville, it’s a sense of pride.
“Just seeing them every day means a lot to me,” Breeding said.