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American Fork honors Cory Wride, other fallen heroes at Memorial Day event

Published: Tuesday, May 27 2014 6:05 a.m. MDT

Members of the Veterans of Foreign War fire rifles during the Memorial Day celebration honoring Utah veterans at the Alpine Tabernacle on Monday, May 26, 2014, in American Fork.

Hugh Carey, Deseret News

AMERICAN FORK — On one side of the monument is the young, smiling face of Cory Wride as a boy. On the other is the same face, aged into that of a man.

Between the two bronze images, there are these words: "Remember the boy, honor the man and forgive the foe."

Presented at a Memorial Day event Monday at the Alpine Tabernacle, the memorial to the Utah County sheriff's Sergeant, a native son of American Fork who was shot and killed during a traffic stop on Jan. 30, will be placed in a park in the city where he grew up.

"I was just really humbled and really filled with a lot of emotions, lots of tears," said his widow, Nanette Wride. "It's just really touching. You don't want him to be forgotten, and I know in a place where he loved and grew up that he's not going to be forgotten here, and it's really comforting to know that."

Wride was one of many American Fork natives memorialized at the "In Remembrance" event, which featured music from the American Fork High School marching band and a cappella choir, comments from Utah Gov. Gary Herbert and a reading of each name of those lost from the city in conflicts ranging from World War I to the global war on terror. This year's event placed a special focus on Wride.

"It was really touching and so fitting for where he grew up his whole life," Nanette Wride said. "He loved this place and his family still lives here, so it's just really neat to know it's going to be in a park where people can go and remember him and our family can go and remember him."

It was a stirring program as each component, from the the singing of "America the Beautiful" by the choir to the playing of the National Anthem and bugle call taps was met with sighs, tears and applause from the packed crowd.

Herbert, who was born in American Fork and lived there until age 6, urged those present to focus on the importance and meaning of the holiday.

"There is more that can be done to honor our soldiers. There is more we can do to support them. There is more that we can do to support their families," he said. "That's my hope and prayer, and I encourage all to do all we can to never forget and use this Memorial Day to propel us forward to do more."

The governor said Utah is working to provide the best training and equipment to its soldiers to ensure they are successful in their responsibilities and "have a greater chance of coming home." The state is also focused on helping its soldiers transition back into civilian life, he said.

After Herbert's remarks, the band played the "Salute to America's Finest," a medley of each branch of the military's songs. Those who served in each branch or who had a family member serve in that branch were asked to stand during that portion of the song.

The widow, son and grandson of Duane Manwell Hancock did just that when the U.S. Air Force song was performed.

"It's as good as it gets," Randy Hancock, Duane's son, said after the program. "The great American spirit, it's what we're all about. We all come together."

Duane Hancock, a Korean War veteran, passed away last June, making this the first Memorial Day he was not with his loved ones. His absence made Monday especially poignant for his family, including his wife of 61 years, Marlene, who said he would have enjoyed the program immensely.

"'Be happy, be happy, be happy' — that was his motto," Marlene Hancock said of her husband. "He made us all happy, and that's why we miss him so much."

For band member Claire Beeson, who played the flute, the highlight was the reading of names of those from American Fork who died in war. Each name was read, one by one, as a flag was placed into a wrought iron memorial at the front of the tabernacle.

The uniformed member of the Utah National Guard who placed the flag would then pause, take a step back and salute. "Reno G. Wagstaff. Francis G. Ambrose," read Alec Anderson, listing the names. "Nathan S. Barnes."

Kevin Barnes, eyes wet, said there was something special about having his son remembered on this day, in this place and in this way. Nathan Barnes was killed after being shot in Iraq on July 17, 2007.

"It changes your whole world. It changes everything," Kevin Barnes said. "You hate losing a family member. … It hurts, and all of these programs just bring these emotions to the surface again and again and again. But it's also a time of gratitude for every one of those names that were read.

"It's a time for the community to come together and realize that the cliché of 'freedom isn't free' is not a cliché. It's a very big price for many, many families."

Email: emorgan@deseretnews.com

Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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