LAYTON, Utah -- Layton City is going above the call of duty to honor those who served our country on Veterans Day.
The city was host of the Northern Utah Veterans Day Parade and broke ground for a 360-foot replica of the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial.
The wall is 80 percent of the size of the original in Washington, D.C. The memorial will include the names of the 58,317 Americans who lost their lives in the Vietnam war, including 366 Utahns.
Vietnam War veteran Dennis Howland said Layton City officials were very eager to help him fulfill a longtime dream.
”It was a personal commitment, a personal promise I made, and I’ve had to wait 50 years to get it,” said Dennis Howland, Vietnam Veterans of America, Utah Chair.
It will be built at Layton Commons Park, 437 North Wasatch Drive, and will be finished in July. Howland expects 50,000 people will visit what will be the largest replica west of the Mississippi.
“People will have a more convenient way to reflect on the war, and it helps us teach children what the price of freedom really is," he said.
Veteran David Weaver says the memorial will make Layton the centerpiece for veterans' activities in the future.
“It makes my heart jump up and down,” Weaver said. “We did our part to ensure that the people here have the freedom they have come to expect.”
After 11 years in Ogden, the Northern Utah Veterans Day Parade was moved to Layton so veterans and others could participate in the groundbreaking for the wall. People lined up along Gentile Street and Wasatch Drive to see more than 67 entries in the parade.
Vietnam War veteran Albert Mora enthusiastically saluted and shouted praises to all of the veterans participating in the parade.
“It’s mostly pride for America,” Mora said. “I’m proud that my brothers served. I served. It’s a good feeling.”
Mora said he and his six veteran brothers were not treated well during the Vietnam war.
“They were spitting on us and calling us names, but I’m happy to see now that things have changed,” he said. “People appreciate the veterans now, you know, and that’s a good feeling.”
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Layton will cost $500,000. So far organizers have raised $450,000. You can learn more about the wall or donate by clicking here.