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West Jordan Journal

West Jordan City Honors Fallen Military Soldiers With Memorial Day Tribute

Jun 19, 2015 06:47PM ● By Taylor Stevens

On May 25, residents of West Jordan City gathered for a Memorial Day ceremony to salute military officers.

West Jordan - As the sun set on Memorial Day in Veterans Memorial Park on May 25, an assembly of residents in red, white and blue, men and women in uniform and Patriot Guard riders on motorcycles converged at the Military Services Monument to celebrate fallen military veterans. Black smoke from a burning flag rose in the sky as the 23rd Army Band Quartet and the Utah Pipe Band played patriotic music.

The flag burning was part of a flag retirement ceremony, which laid to rest a symbol of the United States and its doctrine of freedom to signify the sacrifice military soldiers have made for that independence. 

“Memorial Day is an important time to remember the many men and women who have given their lives to preserve our freedom,” said West Jordan mayor Kim Rolfe in a city press release. “West Jordan is proud to present this tribute to remind our community of the meaning of this holiday.” 
National Guard soldiers marching in to present the colors for the National Anthem.

 The ceremony, which was hosted by KUTV’s Sterling Poulson, began with a religious invocation and included a roll call of Utah soldiers who died in Afghanistan. 

Additionally, the Patriot Guard—a group of men and women who attend funerals of fallen soldiers to protect families from protestors—kept watch throughout the ceremony, holding flags in solidarity down the sidewalk on either side of the Military Services Monument. 

West Jordan residents Christi and Gary Barton lost their son Zachary, a member of the Air Force, in 2013 to depression related to his time in the military. They said the ceremony was an important way to remember the true meaning of Memorial Day. 

“Most people don’t realize or understand the meaning of Memorial Day,” said Gary Barton. “It’s who can have the biggest sale and sell the most cars—and that’s not what it is. It was simply for the military, and it’s okay that everybody is lumped into it. You go to the mortuary and you pay your respects. But still. Memorial Day is about fallen military.” 

Christi Barton said that Memorial Day has a completely different meaning than it used to. “We probably would be having a barbeque and not know the Patriot Guard riders or anything else,” she said. “The biggest thing is to spread the word and bring that real meaning back to everybody.”