Memorial Day ceremonies in Park City, Summit County will honor area’s fallen
Albert Richins fondly looks back on his time spent in the U.S. Army. He feels grateful to have served his country stateside during the Vietnam War and is even more appreciative that his older brother was able to return home safely from serving oversees.
But, the Coalville native knows he is among the lucky ones. Many didn’t make it home, he said, including several from the North Summit area.
“It’s a major sacrifice that our service men made and a lot didn’t know they would be sacrificing their lives,” he said. “Our valley has been very supportive of those serving in the military and there are a lot of veterans buried in our cemeteries out here.”
Richins, along with other members of the American Legion Post 93 in Coalville, will help honor those who lost their lives while serving their country on Memorial Day.
Post 93 in Coalville is scheduled to host memorial services on Memorial Day at each of the six North Summit cemeteries in Wanship, Hoytsville, Henefer, Echo, Upton and Coalville beginning at 8 a.m. Monday, May 28.
The services will culminate at the Coalville Cemetery at noon with the lowering of the American flag to half-staff. Coalville residents Nathaniel and Jennifer Davenport are expected to sing the National Anthem, along with the release of several white doves to signify the loss of loved ones.
Three North Summit residents who died in World War I will be recognized during the program, including Leroy Benson. Benson, who was the first soldier to be killed in action from North Summit, is the American Legion Post 93’s namesake, Richins said.
The American Legion Post 93 began recognizing North Summit soldiers on Memorial Day who have died during conflict about five years ago. Soldiers who fought in the Vietnam and Korean Wars, as well as World War II have been honored in previous ceremonies.
“It makes me think of the sacrifice that our service men have made over the years,” Richins said.
Coalville will provide hot dogs and refreshments to be served afterward. More than 100 people have attended the ceremony in Coalville in previous years.
Coalville Mayor Trever Johnson said it’s critical that the city has a role in the ceremonies as a way to showcase its support of military service members.
“Any support we can give in memorializing our veterans is important to me,” he said. “I’ve seen these gentleman who are Korean War and World War II vets do the gun salute in the pouring rain and, to their credit, they push through it. It’s impressive to watch and we owe it to them to show any support we can.”
Members of the American Legion Post 93 will be at the following cemeteries on Memorial Day:
- 8 a.m. — Wanship
- 8:30 a.m. — Hoystville
- 9:15 a.m. — Henefer
- 9:45 a.m. — Echo
- 10:30 a.m. — Upton
- Noon — Coalville
Park City’s Memorial Day program this year is being hosted by the American Legion Post 14, as well as the Park City Museum and Hill Air Force Base. The collaboration is being done to commemorate the crash of a B-18 bomber into the Iron Mountain saddle on Nov. 17, 1941.
Two service members perished in the crash, while five others survived. Meredith Reed, American Legion post commander, said family members of the airman are expected to attend. The Memorial Day service will start at 9 a.m. at Park City Cemetery.
The ceremony will feature two guest speakers — Parkite Rory Murphy and Hill Air Force Base Vice Commander Col. Dave R. Dunklee. The service will include a Missing Man Formation flyover by the Commemorative Air Force and the unveiling of memorial plaques.
Reed, who served in the Air Force and is the spouse of an active duty member in the Army, said Memorial Day ceremonies allow the community to stay connected to service members.
“With so few people serving in the military, it’s important to remind our community what it means to make the ultimate sacrifice and service the country,” he said.
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