SALT LAKE CITY – A variety of events held in Utah Monday paid tribute to the men and women who have served their country.
About 200 teenagers were at the Larkin Sunset Gardens Cemetery to place thousands of American flags at the graves of veterans. Teenagers from the Sandy Crescent LDS Stake helped by sweeping graves.
Senator Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Brigadier General Dallen Atack, Utah National Guard, spoke about the importance of showing appreciation for our fallen soldiers as well as for those still serving. Atack said this is especially important because soldiers volunteer.
"Since 9/11, every soldier, sailor, airman, marine that is in uniform today has either voluntarily enlisted or voluntarily extended their contract to serve,” he said. “Every single one of them."
Flags were lowered to half-staff across the state after Gov. Gary Herbert authorized they be lowered in honor of those who have fought and died for freedom.
In a statement Herbert said: “Memorial Day has become a time for remembrance of loved ones who have passed away, but I also ask that we recognize the day for its original intent: honoring and remembering the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. “
Volunteers with the Salt Lake City Mission went to Pioneer Park to celebrate Memorial Day by providing meals to those in need. The group began their event with a flag ceremony to remember fallen soldiers. Then they handed out food, personal care products and clothing to people in need.
Brad Jaques, Salt Lake City Mission, said they try to help everyone, regardless of their background.
"Some of these people are homeless,” he said. “Some are couch surfing. Some are living in motels. Some have no place to call home. So we're inviting everybody down to the park today to celebrate Memorial Day and just having a good time."
This is the 20th year the mission has celebrated Memorial Day this way. Visit their website for more information.