Utahns line up along Sgt. Hooser’s funeral route for hours to pay their respects

May 13, 2024, 6:04 PM | Updated: 6:28 pm

OREM— People from across Utah County and elsewhere lined the blocks designated as the procession route for Sgt. Bill Hooser‘s funeral service.

Hooser’s family and the hearse carrying his body passed by the well-wishers twice as they stood at attention and waved flags.

More than 200 flags were carefully placed every 15 feet from Center Street down to the UCCU Events Center, where the funeral was held. Yards of blue ribbon hung between them. People, young and old, took their spots between the posts to be able to say thank you to Hooser, his family and his fellow men and women in uniform.

“It’s just normal,” Utah County resident Mark Rosewaren said. “It’s what we do.”

He was one of several people from all over Utah County who spent most of their Monday on College Drive in Orem.

“Actually, I called off work, and I’m here to support today,” said Provo resident Mario Quant. “I’ve been watching the news and what’s going on. They talked about it this morning, I was like, ‘OK, I have to be there.'”

Some rearranged their schedules, and many brought their children for the occasion. Fernando Salas, his wife, mother in law and six-year-old daughter stood waving flags for the entire procession after the service.

Hundreds gather for somber graveside service for Sgt. Bill Hooser

“We respect the police,” Salas said. ” I think this is a special day for values for my family, about respect for authority.”

Salas and his family have called Utah home for three years. They’re originally from Mexico. He said he wants his young daughter to grow up respecting the police.

“We are broken for the official in Santaquin,” Salas said.

Rosewaren was choked up, watching car after car drive by.

“Spent 36 years in the military myself,” he said. “My brother is an officer in Missouri so law enforcement is very important to me, so I support them every way I can.”

He said this loss was especially tough, being so close to his home.

“Just to be able to salute as it went by, just was special,” Rosewaren said. “It’s an honor.”

Onlookers said they’re glad officer funerals aren’t the norm in Utah, but standing up for those who dedicate their lives to service is something they said is part of the culture here.

“It’s a big thank you for all of them, but one especially today,” Keith Holdaway said. He and his family stood on the procession route holding signs that read, “Served with Honor,” “Our Hero,” and “Thank You.”

Holdaway said his son loaned one of the cranes he owns. A large American flag was flown on top of it at the very end of the procession route. As the crowds waved their flags, bowed their heads, and held their hand over their hearts, they hoped each officer felt appreciated.

“It’s the least people can do to honor a man’s sacrifice,” Holdaway said.

Members of the American Legion Orem post said they will return to take down all of their flags after they worked hard to set them up Sunday. They told KSL it’s an act of service they’re honored to do.

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Utahns line up along Sgt. Hooser’s funeral route for hours to pay their respects