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Davis Journal

Veterans Day celebration honors the men and women who serve to keep America free

Dec 01, 2022 10:54AM ● By Becky Ginos

BOUNTIFUL—It was a crisp, clear day last Friday as a large crowd gathered at the Bountiful Veterans Park to honor those who have served and are serving in the military. Veterans stood proudly when the military flag was raised for the branch they served in. 

“The Veterans Park was funded 100 percent by private donations,” said Ron Mortensen, PhD Vietnam Era Air Force. “We are still adding names and there will be 6,772 names total when those are added. There is no cost to the veterans to place their names.”

Many of these veterans were drafted into service straight from high school into the military, he said. “They signed a blank check to America to serve possibly up to the end of their lives. They all did what they were asked to do. We thank them for all they have given us.”

Veterans Day is a time to remember, thank and honor those who served or are serving all of us to protect the freedoms we enjoy, Mortensen said. “They’re not paid in money, they're paid in pride and satisfaction when they walk into this park.”

“I love this country,” said Chris Simonsen, Vietnam Era Army. “I met a man who was a Vietnam vet who said he was going to kill himself. I hugged him and asked him to wait until we dedicated this park. It was dedicated two years ago and I saw him seated there. I went up to him and gave him a hug and said ‘Are you going to kill yourself tonight?’ He said, ‘heck no.’ This park means a lot to a lot of people. These are true heroes who are willing to serve.”

There’s not a single word that hasn’t already been said, sung or played, said Jenny Taylor whose husband Brent Taylor died in Afghanistan in 2018. “When I was a child there was a student in my class whose family fled from Afghanistan for a better life. I felt something light up inside that something important had happened to me. Patriotism. Patriotism is not arrogance or conceit. It’s not nationality but an awareness that this land was made for me.”

America is an imperfect nation, she said. “We don’t claim to be perfect. We pledge to be a more perfect union and make it more perfect. We pledge to come together to be better than we have been.”

In 2003, Taylor’s husband joined the U.S. Army National Guard. “Our family served for 15 years,” she said. “We knew the risk that comes with it. We paid the price. Even though you know it can happen it’s still a surprise. Four years ago men in dress uniforms came to my door and let me know that my husband would not be coming home. You ask yourself ‘is it worth it?’”

It’s always been worth it, said Taylor. “Now it’s on us the 99 and 9 to live in such a way to make it worth it.”

God bless the men and women in uniform, she said. “Let’s make sure they never feel alone, under appreciated or unnoticed. Every day we must live our lives in a way that says ‘thank you.’ They lay down their dreams so that I can live mine.”