Memorial Day, with the president on his way
Jim Santy is known as one of Park City’s most amiable people, a cheerful throwback to the city’s olden days.
A Korean War veteran who served two tours of duty, about 18 months, in the Marines, Santy is not among the wealthy political donors who planned to meet President Bush at a Wednesday fundraiser at the mansion of onetime Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. But Santy, whose grandson, Adam Kelley, was injured in the Iraqi war, said Monday he would caution the president if he met him during the trip to Park City.
He would tell Bush of his grandson’s service in the Army and the soldier’s injuries.
"That’s our kids over there. Their lives are on the line," Santy said just after he attended an annual Memorial Day ceremony at Park City Cemetery on Kearns Boulevard.
He is unsure how Bush would respond, but Santy said he would want a "polite and grateful" answer from the president.
Bush’s upcoming trip to Park City seemed to be an aside on Monday, as a crowd of Parkites and visitors, some from military families and others who are civilians, walked through the cemetery after the Memorial Day ceremony. People were not talking about the president’s trip, and there were just sporadic mentions of the Iraqi war.
But it appears the Bush visit will be a politically charged affair, with critics mobilizing for what is being billed as a ‘Bush Bash Barbecue’ at City Park on Wednesday evening. Bush is not scheduled to appear in public. He plans to depart Park City on Thursday. He will be the highest-profile politician to visit Park City since Bill Clinton traveled to the city twice during his second term for ski vacations.
Santy hopes Parkites greet Bush with a "very polite welcome," but he understands some people are unhappy with his administration.
"I think that it should be polite, you know, good. He’s the president. He’s commander in chief," Santy said. "There’s a time and place for protests. I don’t know whether it’s when the president comes along."
Vietnam vet remains indignant
Bill Silva, a Vietnam War veteran who now is an engineer for the Park City Fire District, remains indignant about the president’s military service during the Vietnam era.
Silva spent a two-year tour of duty in Vietnam while Bush "partied stateside," he said. Silva said soldiers who face the possibility of being killed in action have a different perspective. Bush still irks him, with Silva especially unhappy with the president’s assertion that major combat had ended in Iraq.
"It offends me, his famous statement, job completed. We’re still there," Silva said.
However, Silva said Bush, since he is the president, should be welcomed.
"I hope it’s respectful," he said about the response of Parkites to the trip. "We deserve, as a city, to honor the presidency with respect."
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Park City on Tuesday hosted an open house designed to provide information about a wide range of municipal projects and programs, but the event took on greater meaning with the gathering becoming among the largest City Hall-organized events held in person in the more than a year.