Park City official delivers poignant Memorial Day remarks
May 26, 2015
Diane Foster on Monday remembered her parents taking the family to graveside Memorial Day events.
Her father was a Marine and her family suffered casualties in battle, the Park City manager told a crowd at a Memorial Day ceremony at the Park City Cemetery on Kearns Boulevard. Foster delivered the keynote speech during the well-attended ceremony, touching on the sacrifice of the armed forces.
The ceremony, organized by the Park City post of the American Legion, drew a range of ages to the cemetery. There were young families alongside senior citizens as the crowd gathered. There appeared to be some from out of town alongside the people from Park City and the Snyderville Basin. Many graves were decorated with American flags.
"We honor those men and women who have given all, who’ve given their lives in service to their country. Just take a moment and think about it. What does it mean to be willing to give everything? What does it mean to be willing to give your life in service to your country? It’s daunting. It is amazing and it must be cherished," Foster told the crowd during her poignant remarks.
Foster said she did not fully appreciate Memorial Day when she was younger and visiting a cemetery with her family. Foster recited Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address during her remarks. Some in the crowd recited the famous Civil War address with her.
She also honored people who served in the military who did not fight in a war.
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"And those who served who never fought a battle, you are no less than those who fought. You were willing to make the ultimate sacrifice," Foster said.
The Treble Makers, a singing group, performed the national anthem. The mournful notes of taps were played on a bugle. Bagpipes added to the solemn tone of the event.
Another speaker, the vice commander of the Park City American Legion post, spoke to the crowd about the traits of a soldier. Brian Seay, a retired Army lieutenant colonel who served from 1988 until 2013, said he is sometimes asked about what makes a soldier special. He said his initial reaction is that nothing makes a soldier special and they are just like anyone else as they laugh, cry, eat and sleep.
"But then after a little more reflection I realized that what makes them so special is that they’re willing to go forward. They’re willing to go forward to try and make the world a better place. They’re willing to go forward putting the interests of others before their own. And they’re willing to go forward with the very real prospect that they might not come home," Seay said.
Seay, who served three combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, said more than 2.5 million soldiers have served since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. They have battled a highly resilient and adaptive enemy, he said. Some of them have served "in places which have been burned into our history books," such as Iraq and Afghanistan, Seay said. Others have been deployed to places that are only periodically in the news or in places that few Americans have heard of, he said.
"Too many of these great young, young Americans will never come home. Those heroes who haven’t come home did their part for the team. They did their part to ensure missions were accomplished. They did their part to ensure their comrades could make it home. They did their part to liberate the oppressed, to provide hope for the hopeless and to preserve the peace. We owe it to them, their families and America to honor, honor their memories," Seay said.
The ceremony drew at least 100 people. The attendance appeared to be stronger than past Memorial Day ceremonies. Kris Smith, the commander of the Park City post of the American Legion, said there is increased awareness of veterans in the community.