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Honoring the USS Utah and fallen Utahns on Pearl Harbor Day

Dec 7, 2021, 8:01 AM

SALT LAKE CITY — The USS Utah — commissioned in the early 20th century and used as a target and antiaircraft training vessel — was struck by torpedoes on this day 80 years ago at Pearl Harbor. She sank with 58 men on board and was never salvaged.

As a memorial that bears our state’s name, it’s a sacred space in the Pacific that’s also honored here in the Beehive State.

Newcomers and longtime Utahns alike can visit Memory Grove Park — a public tribute to those who gave their lives specifically in World War II — on this 80th anniversary of the attacks on Pearl Harbor.

The Meditation Chapel along City Creek is probably the most peaceful spot you could find steps away from the Utah Capitol and a very busy downtown Salt Lake City.

There, you’ll find granite markers to honor those who died serving others, like Yeoman Third Class Alva Walton — a 19-year-old from Salt Lake City who died on Dec. 7, 1941.

Walton’s remains still lie beneath the shallow Hawaiian waters on the USS Arizona and he is memorialized on the Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.

(Dan Spindle/KSL TV)

The park was originally built to honor the casualties of World War I and over the years has become a hallowed space to honor those Utahns who died in most modern conflicts from Korea to Vietnam to Iraq and Afghanistan and even our state’s Medal of Honor recipients.

So many walk the peaceful trails and take family pictures in the shade of the canyon. But on a day like today, we honor those lost at Pearl Harbor and all of Utah’s honorable service members.

Take some time if you can to see these monuments and reflect and remember.

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Honoring the USS Utah and fallen Utahns on Pearl Harbor Day