Yellow ribbons and cards bearing the names of the 611 Utah National Guard soldiers called to active duty are among the ornaments on trees decorated for Christmas at the state Guard headquarters.
Evergreens planted in the lawn in front of the headquarters were decorated for the season with special emphasis on the Utahns serving in or bound for Operation Desert Shield, said Command Sgt. Maj. Duane Wilson, who orchestrated the project that involved the 13 commands that operate out of the Draper complex."It's been good for morale. Most trees have a Desert Shield theme," said Chief of Staff Col. Phillip Peay.
The headquarters' location along I-15 gives the complex and the trees good visibility, Peay said.
All of the decorations were donated, and many were handmade specifically for the headquarters project, including a wooden Air Force jet and heart-shape ornaments also bearing the names of the Operation Desert Shield soldiers from the Utah National Guard. Yellow ribbons are the most common decorations.
The Christmas cards with the soldiers' names on them were decorated by students at Butler Elementary and will be forwarded to soldiers at the Fort Carson, Colo. mobilization station Monday, Peay said. Cards bearing the names of soldiers already in Saudi Arabia and temporarily at Fort Lewis, Wash., also will be mailed soon, he said.
Draper Mayor Charles Hoffman was invited by the Guard to judge the trees Thursday with the winner to receive special recognition at the Guard's Christmas Party Dec. 21. Hoffman ended up choosing two trees, the one with the yellow ribbons and Christmas cards that was decorated by the Property and Physical Office and a tree with handmade ornaments of children of different races and cultures that was decorated by linguists from the 300th Brigade of the 142nd Military Intelligence Battalion.