LAYTON, Utah — Monday's Memorial Day ceremonies in Utah and across the nation honor the service members who died while serving our country.
"What we did this morning was just a small memorial that we do to honor the people that have passed, that died in wars to serve our country, protecting the freedoms and privileges," said Dennis Howland, a Marine veteran and president of the Utah State Council for Vietnam Veterans of America. "Then we did a bell ceremony that honored all the wars from the beginning of our country - from the Revolutionary War to the current conflict in Afghanistan."
Howland was one of the people present for Memorial Day ceremonies at Layton City's Vietnam Memorial Wall Replica.
Memorial Day ceremonies in 2020 are being held in smaller groups due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but Howland said there's another meaningful way to pay tribute to the fallen.
"Visit a veteran's grave, whether it's a veteran that you know, a veteran that was in your family or just a veteran's gravesite in one of the local cemeteries and put the flag and just spend a second at his grave. [You'll] probably be the only visitor that guy's had for a long time. And just stand there in silence for what they did for us," Howland said, holding back tears.
Howland told FOX 13 about the meaning Layton's Vietnam Memorial Wall holds for him and others
"These were friends, brothers, fathers, sons. These people went to a place that they were told to go, that they didn't have a choice, that they did what they were supposed to do because they were told to do it," Howland said. "And they did it with honor and respect. And we come here - this memorial is to respect those people and so for their memory, so that we never forget who they were, and why they did it."
Howland said the memorial wall doesn't just honor Vietnam veterans, but every veteran in the United States.
In South Jordan, a different type of event paid tribute to fallen service members. The "Honor Walk" at Finch Park features posters and chalk art placed along the park's walkways for Memorial Day.
"We organized families in the neighborhood. They were assigned a fallen veteran and they honored them through posters and chalk art, sharing their stories, their names, their faces," said KIm Quiroz, who organized the event. "They wanted to share them with the community, with the families of these veterans so that they know they're remembered."