Salt Lake City — On Memorial Day, the Utah Department of Veterans and Military Affairs (UDVMA) hosted a special ceremony at the Utah State Capitol to honor military personnel who died in service to the United States. Governor Spencer Cox addressed the gathered crowd, urging a refocus on the true meaning of the day, which is often mistaken as simply the commencement of summer. Cox passionately emphasized that Memorial Day is dedicated to the remembrance of the fallen and the celebration of the patriotic service they rendered to their country. This central theme was encapsulated by a laying of a ceremonial wreath, a 21-gun salute, and the playing of "Taps" in tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation.
Utah's U.S. Representatives Blake Moore and Burgess Owens, Major General Michael J. Turley of the Utah National Guard, along with UDVMA Executive Director Gary Harter, were present to mark the occasion. Representative Moore shared moving personal stories about his own family's military service and underscored the gravity of military service, particularly the mental and emotional toll it can have on those who serve. Further, the UDVMA's deputy director, Corey Pearson, urged veterans to maintain connections with each other and promoted the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, a critical resource for those struggling with the aftermath of their service. All of these efforts were aimed to ensure that the essence of Memorial Day remains rooted in honoring the sacrifices of our military heroes and supporting veterans in their post-service lives.
The ceremony can be viewed HERE.
Governor Cox also issued and official declaration recognizing Memorial day in Utah. The declaration reads as follows.
Whereas, Utahns continue to honor and pay tribute to the selfless service and sacrifice of all who serve in the United States Armed Forces, particularly those who have made the ultimate sacrifice;
Whereas, for decades, tens of thousands of Utahns have answered the call to serve in the active duty, Reserve, and National Guard components of the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Space Force, and Merchant Marines, defending our country and the cherished freedoms that we hold dear;
Whereas, Utahns have bravely served in numerous military conflicts, including the Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Persian Gulf War, and in Afghanistan and Iraq;
Whereas, nearly 3,000 military members from Utah have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country;
Whereas, on Memorial Day, Utahns humbly honor the brave men and women who marched, flew, and sailed in defense of our nation, many of whom never returned home to their loved ones;
Whereas, Utahns and Americans alike recommit themselves with sincere gratitude and respect to uphold and defend the principles and freedoms for which these heroes laid down their lives;
Now, Therefore, I, Spencer J. Cox, Governor of the great State of Utah, do hereby declare May 29, 2023, as Memorial Day in Utah.