Honoring veterans: 3,000 flags placed by youth volunteers

May 23, 2024, 11:00 PM | Updated: May 24, 2024, 10:50 am

SANDY — In a heartfelt tribute to the men and women who have served the country, more than 200 youth volunteers from around the Salt Lake Valley gathered at Larkin Sunset Gardens Cemetery to honor military veterans ahead of Memorial Day.

The volunteers placed 3,000 American flags on the graves of servicemen and women and also took time to sweep and polish headstones and beautify the cemetery grounds.

Among the many volunteers, one family’s story stood out.

Axel Thomas Peterson placing a flag on a veteran's grave.

Axel Thomas Peterson placing a flag on a veteran’s grave. (KSL TV)

For Axel Thomas Peterson, this act of service carries a profoundly personal legacy. Axel’s middle name, Thomas, was given in honor of his great uncle Tommy, who was a gunner on the USS Saratoga and was killed by a kamikaze during World War II.

“We gave his middle name as Thomas after my uncle Tommy, who was my grandmother’s brother,” said Matthew Peterson, a veteran and Axel’s father. “He grew up as a farm boy in Chowchilla and answered his nation’s call.”

Matthew Peterson (right) talking about his uncle Tommy (left).

Matthew Peterson (right) talking about his uncle Tommy (left). (KSL TV)

For Axel Peterson, placing each flag is a reminder of the ultimate sacrifice his namesake made for the country’s freedom.

“Well, it’s kind of amazing to know your ancestors were in WW2,” he said. “It’s a day to remember who fought.”

“Memorial Day is always a special and sacred occasion to remember those who have sacrificed so much for our country, and we should always remember them,” said Lance Larkin, President of Larkin Mortuary. “Watching the young people in our community place the flags with such reverence and respect is truly heartwarming.”

The Larkin Sunset Gardens Cemetery holds an annual Memorial Day program, which is open to the general public. More information about the event can be found on their website. 

KSL 5 TV Live

Local News

A voter places her ballot into a secure ballot drop box at the Salt Lake County Government Center i...

Bridger Beal-Cvetko, KSL.com

What to watch for on a busy Utah primary election day

A long and unusually crowded 2024 primary election is almost in the books in Utah, as Republican voters will select their party's nominees in several statewide and federal races Tuesday.

2 hours ago

FILE (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)...

Daniella Rivera

KSL Investigation examines more than a decade of alleged election crime in Utah

Election fraud is rare in Utah, but it does happen – that's what the KSL Investigators found after looking at nearly 12 years of statewide court records.

11 hours ago

Parts of Utah have been given a heat advisory on Sunday. A view of the state Capitol and the Salt L...

Andrew Adams

As temperatures approach 100, urban surfaces can make the heat even more present

When temperatures approach and reach triple digits, heat captured and reflected by surfaces can make conditions in urban areas only more sweltering.

11 hours ago

A light on top of a police car...

Mark Jones

Man suffers minor injuries in paragliding crash near Parowan

Police say a 74-year-old man suffered minor injuries Monday following a paragliding accident.

12 hours ago

The body of a Idaho man was recovered Monday, June 24, 2024, in the Blackrock Canyon, south of Poca...

Mark Jones

Idaho man found dead in canyon south of Pocatello

Authories in Idaho say the body of a 49-year-old man was found Monday in the Blackrock Canyon, south of Pocatello.

13 hours ago

A California man is being held without bond at the Salt Lake County Jail for allegedly kidnapping h...

Brianna Chavez

California man arrested for allegedly kidnapping girlfriend

A California man is being held without bond at the Salt Lake County Jail for allegedly kidnapping his girlfriend over the weekend.

14 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Photo courtesy of Artists of Ballet West...

Ballet West

The rising demand for ballet tickets: why they’re harder to get

Ballet West’s box office is experiencing demand they’ve never seen before, leaving many interested patrons unable to secure tickets they want.

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 internet safety tips for kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why printer security should be top of mind for your business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light up your home with these top lighting trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for hassle-free computer repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Honoring veterans: 3,000 flags placed by youth volunteers