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Centenarian veterans honored at Utah State Capitol Friday

Posted at 9:49 PM, Nov 10, 2023

SALT LAKE CITY — Saturday is Veteran's Day, a time to honor those who served in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Some of those veterans are now 100 years old, or older.

On Friday, a handful of those centenarian veterans here in the Beehive State were honored during a heartfelt ceremony in the rotunda of the Utah State Capitol.

The Utah Department of Veterans and Military Affairs (UDVMA), in partnership with the Salt Lake City VA Health Care System, was the host of the Utah Centenarian Veterans Recognition Ceremony.

The event included remarks from Governor Spencer Cox.

"We honor you our centenarian veterans on behalf of 3.3 million people who call you to home, we thank you, we are forever in your debt," said Gov. Cox.

The veterans in attendance came up, one by one, and were presented with special challenge coins commemorating both the event and their accomplishments.

"We need to continue to talk about the greatest generation and make sure that there are greater generations to come and, and we do that by honoring you, we do that by learning from you," said Gov. Cox.

Among the centenarian veterans who were honored was Phyllis Ockerman, who was born here in Salt Lake City in 1922.

"I was a Navy nurse in World War II, 1943 to 1948, no, six," said Ockerman.

Ockerman was tasked with helping care for those injured in combat.

"They had multiple injuries and surgeries that needed to be done, but they were brave, so brave," said Ockerman.

Ockerman says she utilized the Montgomery GI bill when she got out of the service. That allowed her to go back to Northwestern University, where she graduated in physical therapy.

That allowed her to continue to take care of people who had injuries, something she says was rewarding.

Friday's event allowed for inspiring moments from a group of men and women that left a lasting mark on our history.