WWI Memorial for Kaysville Soldier Re-Dedicated

Nov 10, 2018, 8:52 PM | Updated: 10:27 pm

KAYSVILLE, Utah – The first thing most people probably notice when they come to the Kaysville Cemetery is the big flag pole and memorial here.

It’s right at the entrance.

The American Legion put it up decades ago specifically for a local soldier.

However, the plaque honoring Army soldier Elmer Criddle had been missing.

It was most likely stolen decades ago.

“The plaque disappeared,” said Cindy Petersen, who is Criddle’s great-niece. “We just grew up a block away from here and as children we came over here regularly and our parents always told us about here is the Elmer Criddle memorial.”

Criddle was a soldier from Kaysville who died a hundred years ago in France during World War I.

His body was never found.

Instead of a grave, a memorial was built for him at the Kaysville City Cemetery.

Saturday afternoon, family members of members of the American Legion held a ceremony to re-dedicate the Criddle memorial with a brand new plaque to honor his sacrifice.

“Today is very important,” said Petersen. “He needs to be remembered and there’s nobody else who is going to remember him.”

One of Criddle’s family members who came to the service is Jay Hess.

Hess has a story of his own that could fill a book.

He is a Vietnam Veteran who was captured and held hostage for more than five years.

Veterans Day means a lot to him.

“The price of freedom is really pretty high,” said Hess. “To try and say thanks in an appropriate way to show love of country and an appreciation for those who served requires, I think, a day like today.”

Hess never met his uncle Criddle, but has heard the stories about him throughout his childhood.

“I used to ask my mom, what happened to Uncle Elmer? She would say we don’t know. He just went to war and didn’t return home,” said Hess.

That’s why the family wanted to replace his plaque.

They started thinking about it several years ago, but started to get serious this past Memorial Day.

It seemed like the perfect time because not only did Criddle die a hundred years ago, but World War I also a hundred years ago.

“I didn’t even realize that it was a hundred years and Armistice Day was tomorrow,” said Petersen. “It’s been awesome to reconnect with cousins and second cousins and their because of this. It has been awesome.”

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WWI Memorial for Kaysville Soldier Re-Dedicated