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Ceremonies mark Memorial Day for many Utahns


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WEST JORDAN -- During a special service at the Redwood Memorial Cemetery Sunday, a group of bagpipers played music for visitors while others placed flags and flowers on the graves of their loved ones. It was just one of the many different ceremonies today.

Betty Offret's husband, Ralph, is one of the many veterans who lies in rest at the Mount View Memorial Cemetery. He was a soldier in the Korean War but didn't talk about it.

"He got three bronze stars, and we didn't know until he died," Betty said.

Sunday morning's flag raising ceremony was in his honor, and his family was there.

"I'm sure this would really please him," Betty said.

Her son Steven said of his father, "He was a mortar man, he had a life expectancy of 16 minutes, and he spent a year doing it."

In Ogden was another gathering. Folks came out to find friends on a replica of the Vietnam Memorial.

Mike Leavitt, with Leavitt's Mortuary, said, "We've had thousands, we can't even count, thousands of thousands of people show up for this."

The wall is 252 feet long, half the size of the original memorial, but it still has every name on it.

Robert Clark served in Vietnam as a tank commander platoon sergeant. He says he doesn't know anyone on the wall, because he was lucky.

Gulf War veteran Matthew Marlin-Hill said, "Soldiers are brothers. It doesn't matter which war or where, we're all brothers."

Lindy Jones, Offret's daughter, said, "They go risk their lives for our country, for us to be free. Some don't make it back."

But some, like Ralph, do make it back. He lived a full life before passing away.

There are a number of Memorial Day events scheduled for Monday, including:

  • Redwood Memorial Cemetery, May 25, 10 a.m., Memorial Day program
  • Mt. View Memorial Cemetery, May 25, 10:15 a.m., Memorial Day program
  • Lake Hills Memorial Cemetery, May 25, 11 a.m., Memorial Day program
  • Holladay Memorial Cemetery, May 25, 9:30 a.m., Memorial Day program
  • Leavitt's Mortuary, May 25, 7:30 a.m., Fallen Soldier ceremony

Many places will be closed for Memorial Day, including all state liquor stores, libraries, state offices, public schools, and most banks and courts.

E-mail: abutterfield@ksl.com

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Amanda Butterfield

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