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Utahns celebrate Memorial Day

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Posted at 9:00 AM, May 27, 2013
and last updated 2013-05-27 11:07:40-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- As many people celebrate Memorial Day with traditional camping trips and barbecues, some are observing the holiday as a day of remembrance for those who gave their lives while serving our country.

"My family was all military. My two brothers and my mother and my father are all buried here. So it's a special time of remembrance for everybody and I'm glad we have the opportunity to come up and pay our respects," said Fern Macomb, who was at the Ft. Douglas Cemetery.

Governor Gary Herbert authorized all state facilities to fly their flags at half staff from sunrise to sunset in observance of the holiday.

U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch issued the following statement:

"As we observe Memorial Day this year, I hope we will all take a moment to remember and celebrate the lives of the brave service men and women who have faced tremendous obstacles with courage and fortitude, and have sacrificed greatly for us to remain free. Today, flowers will dot the landscape, and flags will fly in every corner so that as one of our great patriots Daniel Webster once stated, '. . .their remembrance will be as lasting as the land they honored.'

While serving in the United States Senate I have had the opportunity to visit many places I consider sacred -- the medical wards of the Walter Reed hospital where many of our veterans lay wounded;   a beautiful cemetery in Luxembourg where more than 5,000 American soldiers are buried from their service in World War II; and the white marked and unmarked graves of our beloved veterans laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery.  On each of these occasions the reverent, humble feeling that I experienced is untouched and very special to me.

Our nation’s veterans are my heroes.

Our Founding Fathers declared the United States a freedom-loving people – a declaration on which they risked everything – their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor.  Throughout our nation’s history, our liberty, our freedom and our republic have been protected and cherished by our veterans.

And so as we celebrate Memorial Day and decorate graves with beautiful blossoms and place flags in positions of respect for our fallen, I would hope that we might take a moment to honor and pay tribute to the heroes who have paved the road to freedom.

I came across a passage recently that is not attributed to anyone, but is poignant and very fitting for today.  It states, “These heroes are dead.  They died for liberty—they died for us.  They are at rest.  They sleep in the land they made free, under the flag they rendered stainless, under the solemn pines, the sad hemlocks, the tearful willows, the embracing vines.  They sleep beneath the shadow of the clouds, careless alike of sunshine or storm, each in the windowless palace of rest. . .they are at peace.

Happy Memorial Day!"