Utahns gather to honor true meaning of Memorial Day

May 29, 2023, 5:31 PM | Updated: 6:24 pm

SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah — Across Utah, people took time this Memorial Day to pause and remember those who sacrificed for our country. The true meaning of Memorial Day has been a recurring theme.

The Utah Department of Veterans and Military Affairs put on their Memorial Day Ceremony on the south steps of the Capitol. More than 200 people joined Gov. Spencer Cox and U.S. Rep. Blake Moore for reflection and remembrance.

“Patriotism takes work,” the Utah governor told the audience. “There is a responsibility that comes with being an American, and I worry that that far too many of us are forgetting the work of being an American.“

A 21-gun salute honored those who sacrificed their lives for our country.

“We certainly do have Veterans Day. But Memorial Day honors those who have given the ultimate sacrifice to our great country,” said Gary Harter, executive director of the Utah Department of Veterans and Military Affairs.

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Approximately 3500 Utahns, dating back to World War I, have paid that price.

The governor asserted that the United States isn’t just about prosperity or having a fantastic economy but representing a bold idea of freedom and equality for which people fought and died.

“All of us are born with those rights, and the government is formed to protect those rights, not the other way around,” Cox said. “That idea changed the course of human history.“

Jennie Taylor’s husband made the ultimate sacrifice nearly five years ago. Utah Army National Guard Major Brent Taylor was killed in action in Afghanistan.

“It’s a very emotional day with mixed feelings,” Jennie said. “I’m sad that my husband’s not here, and even more sad to know that there are hundreds of thousands of other service members not here on earth because of their sacrifice.”

She spoke in Sandy as Larkin Mortuary continued its annual Memorial Day tradition that started 24 years ago.

“Today is the day to celebrate the American Dream,” Jennie said. ‘We would not have our opportunity to pursue the American Dream if men and willing women weren’t willing to die for that dream.”

She said it’s nearly impossible to imagine our country without that dream, just as unrealistic as it is to imagine our world without America.

“Pausing for a moment to think of the dreams, that we are all eager to live, and the price that has been paid so that we can live them,” the Gold Star Widow said.

Jennie said this day fills her with gratitude for the sacrifices of the past and the incredible hope it gives us for our future.

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Utahns gather to honor true meaning of Memorial Day