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Courtney Orton and Nicole Gonzales reporting People honored veterans today across the Salt Lake Valley by spending the day learning about Veterans Day and assembling care packages for soldiers.
From flags that line a street at Salt Lake Community College in West Jordan to an Associated Foods semi truck painted to show three employees who served in either Iraq or Afghanistan, the message of patriotism is clear.
Congressman Jim Matheson had a similar message to students at Bryant Middle School: Veterans Day is more than just words they see on a calendar.
"When they get to meet vets and hear stories about experiences in serving our country it gives a face to the country, it gives a face to the holiday," Matheson said.
Across town, hundreds put a face on the holiday, as part of the "Feed Uncle Sam" campaign, by assembling almost 700 care packages to send to Utah's deployed National Guard soldiers.
"I want you to fill the box so full that when I go to close the box, I can't push it down at all," project organizer Jennie Taylor told volunteers.
Taylor says she is happy to see such a great turnout. "We are just overwhelmed. We are grateful. We're excited, and this is just an adrenaline rush. We just got through with 90 junior high kids being in here helping us, and it's just an exciting day and a great place to be," she said.
Those junior high students skipped school and spent their day packing those boxes. "A guy gave me a lot of sunflower seeds, so I hope he likes sunflower seeds and Oreos," student Sarah Williams said.
Plenty of army wives were there to lend a hand, as well. "I think it helps them (the soldiers) get through it," Lacey Nielsen said.
Annie Nielson, also the wife of a soldier, said, "Our husbands are there, and it's just a good way to show our support to all of them."
Each box is packed with essentials and filled with love, support, and gratitude. "They are our service men and women, and, politics aside, we a just wanted to say, ‘Thank you. We appreciate you and support you,'" Taylor said.
The finished boxes will be sent to nearly 700 Utahns currently serving overseas.
Meanwhile, several local and federal agencies were closed today in observance of Veterans Day. Those include: