North Summit vet: ‘I fly my flag every day’
November 10, 2015
You don’t need to be in the military to serve your country, says World War II veteran Edwin Boyer.
"Just be good people. You don’t need to be in the military," he repeated.
But Boyer was in the military. The 89-year-old served in the United States Marine Corps right out of high school and spent a year overseas. He saw action in well-known skirmishes on the islands of Gaum and Iwo Jima as a private first class before eventually receiving an honorable discharge due to a leg wound.
Like many veterans, Boyer, a Henefer resident, is humble about his experiences during World War II and only reluctantly agreed to speak with The Park Record.
"You’re lucky," Boyer said during a phone interview. "I wouldn’t normally agree to this, but you caught me off guard."
The memories Boyer recounts, which are few, are as vivid as the day they happened. Without hesitation, he recalled the date he returned to San Diego, Feb. 28, 1945.
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Boyer’s son, Chris, credit’s a recent trip the two took with encouraging his dad to share his memories. A few weeks ago, Boyer accompanied his father to the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. The pair took the trip through the non-profit organization, Honor Flight Network, which flies veterans to memorials in Washington D.C.
"He enjoyed it very much and he started to open up a little more than he ever has about personal stuff," Chris Boyer said. "It was a fantastic experience just to be around the vets and their families and to see their emotions and their dedication. They love their country and I think he was tickled to death that he went and had that opportunity."
It was the elder Boyer’s first opportunity to see the memorial built in his honor and he referred to it as an "emotional experience." He joined more than 100 fellow Utah veterans from different branches of the military on the trip visiting several memorials in the D.C.-area.
"It was a good experience," Boyer said. "I went back several years ago with my wife, but the memorial wasn’t built then. This time I was with the veterans and it was quite an experience to see them and their reactions."
According to Boyer, some of the veterans on the trip were in their upper 90s and all used wheelchairs. He referred to himself as the youngest of the group.
As previously reported in The Park Record, roughly 2,000 veterans reside in Summit County, with about 600 veterans in Park City alone.
Following his service, Boyer returned to Summit County and assumed work in construction as a heavy equipment operator. He married his wife, Thea, and had six children.
As Veteran’s Day approached, Boyer said he didn’t have anything special planned. In the past, he has participated in assemblies at North Summit High School, his alma mater. However, he didn’t have any plans to do so this year.
"I fly my flag year round," he said, emphasizing once more the need to just be "good citizens and improve our country."
Wednesday’s events honoring veterans:
- North Summit High School will host a breakfast for veterans and their spouses at 8 a.m. in the high school lunchroom.
- An assembly will be held at 9 a.m. in the high school auditorium
- North Summit Elementary will hold an assembly at 1:15 p.m
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