The fallen honored | ParkRecord.com

The fallen honored

by Jay Hamburger OF THE RECORD STAFF

At 16 years old, Tyler Gaebe is still too young to serve in the armed forces.

The Park City High School sophomore, though, about a year ago signed up for the Civil Air Patrol, the civilian auxiliary to the Air Force that conducts many search-and rescue missions.

Gaebe’s stern voice on Monday provided a backdrop to part of a ceremony at Park City Cemetery to honor the fallen war dead during a well-attended annual Memorial Day ceremony. Gaebe’s commands guided the day’s color guard through the ceremony as veterans and regular Parkites watched silently.

"It’s a pretty good honor just being able to acknowledge the people who served and died for us," Gaebe said afterward, mentioning that both of his grandfathers served in World War II. "It just gets me thinking about how they were able to do that and serve their country."

At the cemetery Monday morning, a few dozen people gathered for the ceremony and many more walked slowly through the gravestones. Flowers and American flags decorated the grounds of the Kearns Boulevard cemetery, and the visitors spoke quietly among themselves. Soldiers, veterans and firefighters joined the others in the crowd on a picturesque day.

The color guard slowly raised the American flag on a flagpole, Adam Kelley, a local soldier, sung the National Anthem and taps was played. The ceremony was similar to the others held each year at the cemetery.

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Steven Leiser, the newly installed pastor at Shepherd of the Mountains Lutheran Church, urged the people to "remember with compassion" the fallen soldiers. He quoted a passage of the Gettysburg Address and asked for comfort from the lord.

He acknowledged, though, that Memorial Day is an "uncomfortable" holiday since Americans remember the sacrifices made by others. He said the holiday makes people consider whether they would give their lives like the fallen soldiers have.

Mayor Dana Williams delivered a brief address, saying that Americans respect the soldiers even if there are disagreements about the politics that lead the country to war. He hoped people would pause to reflect and pray for the soldiers.

Williams spoke about City Hall’s efforts to honor each of the local soldiers who is deployed, a practice that has been in place during the years since the start of the war on terrorism. He said their sacrifices and those of their families are for the greater good. Williams said there remains hope that conflict will end some day. That sustains the nation, he said.

"Each year that I have been in office, when I sit down to write about my thoughts on Memorial Day my greatest hope is that next year we will be celebrating the fact that none of our armed service people are in harm’s way," he said, reading from a prepared statement.