The Utah Chapter, Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge, has honored 15 Utahns, a private school in Pleasant Grove and a Washington County park.

They were recognized at a Little America Hotel luncheon for "bringing about a better understanding and appreciation of our nation and its principles of human dignity and freedom."The Salt Lake hotel was draped with flags and the gathering featured a Utah Air National Guard ceremony outlining the history of flags and stirring patriotic vocal music, "Stand Up America" and "I Love America," sung by tenor Tom Pike.

Only Master Sgt. John H. Forbes of the Utah Air National Guard, one of the individuals honored, was not present to accept his award, a George Washington Honor Medal and a $50 U.S. savings bond.

The Kearns man is serving America in Operation Desert Shield in Saudi Arabia. His wife, Patricia, accepted the award for her husband, who wrote in an essay: "It isn't planes, bombs and missiles that keep America strong. It is its homes and children . . . ."

Other George Washington Honor Medal recipients are:

Richard B. Laney, Deseret News editorial page editor, for an editorial, "A Great Christmas in '89 - The Best Is Yet to Come," which noted that "cries for peace will not go unanswered by the King of Kings"; Deseret News editorial writer Hal Knight, who challenged Utahns in his editorial, "Freedom's Lamp Burns Brighter," to "take time to contemplate what is happening in the world and to acquire a greater awareness and appreciation for the precious gift of freedom"; and Brooke Adams, Deseret News Provo Bureau chief and columnist, who was cited for articles about the history of the American flag, including her award-winning "How Flag Came Into Being Still Causes a Flap."

Also presented an honor medal were Ngan N. Nguyen, a Highland High senior, who as a Vietnam refugee wrote "What Freedom Means to Me"; Jon D. Martin, Layton, who wrote an article for a Seattle, Wash., publication; Noel Reynolds, Orem, a Brigham Young University faculty member, and Tim Slover, Provo, for research and writing for a screen play, "A More Perfect Union," produced by the BYU Motion Picture Studio; the Hurricane Valley Pioneer Heritage Park; and American Heritage School, a private school in Pleasant Grove.

Verdell Hinton spearheaded the effort for the Washington County park, which honors early pioneers of the area and highlights their "story of faith, hardship and tenacity."

Board of trustees chairman Gary Beus, Orem, accepted the award for the school, which conducted a yearlong program, "The Spirit of America Speaks," aimed at helping students understand the American way of life and the importance of being responsible citizens.

Gayle Brosnahan, Salt Lake City, was honored for writing words and music for the Indian Hills Elementary School program, "Stand Up America." The program has been accepted by the State Board of Education. A copy will be placed in all Utah elementary and junior high schools.

A framed Valley Forge Teachers Medal was presented to Jean W. Madsen, Bountiful, principal of Farmington Elementary School, who was honored for working to "boost morale and helping students take pride in themselves and their school through a new program she started, `Dare To Be Totally Responsible.' "

Dolores Bennett, Logan, a chapter officer, said Madsen achieved the highest national recognition in the education category.

Also a winner in the education category was Geneve Cornell, Pleasant Grove, American Heritage School principal, who won a Valley Forge Teachers Medal for "encouraging programs and events to promote patriotism and responsible citizenship."

Oliver Van Demille, Hurricane, an Air Force ROTC cadet at BYU, was presented a framed George Washington Honor Medal and a $100 savings bond for an essay that challenged Americans to be strong and true at home as well as abroad.

Also honored in the military essay category and presented with George Washington Honor Medals and $50 savings bonds were 1st Lt. Lauralyn Cabanilla, Provo; Cadet Airman 1st Class Bryan Dee Caldwell and Cadet Rebecca Van Cleef, Layton, both members of the Air Force junior ROTC program at Clearfield High School.

Others either speaking or participating at the patriotic gathering included Alma Welch, Freedoms Foundation chapter president; Douglas Nicholes, program co-chairman; Rodney H. Brady, national foundation board member; Jerry Higginson, Utah chapter foundation board member, and the Utah Air National Guard members, Senior Master Sgt. Terri L. Shaw, Master Sgt. Steven L. Hill, Tech. Sgt. Bill Allmendinger, Tech. Sgts. Glenn DeGroot and Duane Copfer and Staff Sgt. Charlene (Marti) R. Lindquist.