The more than 400 Rich County veterans who served in World Wars I and II, the Korean conflict and the Vietnam War were honored Aug. 20 in Randolph.
In "A Salute to Our Veterans" the county and its War Memorial Committee dedicated a monument to 346 men and women for their military service since World War I. Names of 78 other World War I veterans are included on an older monument. Both the old memorial and new monument - two large granite monoliths - were dedicated by David M. Kennedy, special representative and ambassador-at-large for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.A native of Randolph and former U.S secretary of the treasury, Kennedy was joined at the program by a large number of military, state, county and other officials. Several hundred people attended the service.
Kennedy, 83, of Salt Lake City, also rode a horse in a parade that preceded the program. The dedication was held in conjunction with the Rich County Fair and Rodeo.
Other speakers or participants in the dedication included Brig. Gen. Donald M. Bagley, deputy commander of the 96th U.S. Army Reserve Command; Lt. Gov. Val Oveson; Rich County commissioners Kenneth R. Brown and Blair R. Francis; Elaine Cox, a member of the War Memorial Committee; Kemmerer, Wyo., LDS stake President Stuart Hopkin; members of American Legion Post 52; and a color guard from the 96th Army Reserve Command.
Awards were presented to three "Gold Star Mothers," Regina Hanney, of Randolph; Ilene Kennedy, Garden City, Rich County; and Pearl Rex, Spanish Fork, whose sons were either killed or who are missing in action. Wreaths were placed at each of the monuments.
Bagley, whose command includes two Army reservists who were reared in Rich County and whose names are included on the memorial for service in Vietnam, praised the memorial committee.
"Less than a year ago, Rich County towns, veterans and their families began raising money for a veterans' memorial because they felt recognition for the veterans who risked their lives was long overdue," Bagley said.
The general referred to the efforts of Willa T. Kennedy, Randolph, and others. Last September she suggested to county commissioners that something be done to recognize men and women who have served their country since World War I.
"I've been told of a boy whose grandfather was a World War II veteran. This boy, just 6 years old, saved his pennies - $7.50 worth, for this memorial. And, with everyone working together, over $20,000 was raised for this important cause," Bagley said.
The boy, Eddie Cornia, formerly of Woodruff and now of St. George, wanted to remember his grandfather, the late Peter Cornia, who served during World War II.
Maj. Robert A. Adams, Fruit Heights, Davis County, is one of many veterans who attended the ceremony and a parade, which included floats with veterans from past wars.
"I'm overwhelmed. The people of this county are the true fiber and grit of the nation. When I came off active duty in 1972 from Vietnam, I was welcomed with open arms," said Adams, who as an Army reservist is now headquarters commandant of the 96th Army Reserve Command and a pilot for Delta Air Lines.
Many other veterans, including J. Earl Stuart, who is in his 90s and who served in World War I, and Sheldon Kennedy and Helen Kennedy Cornia, attended the program. Cornia was in the Army Nurse Corps, and Kennedy was in the Army Medical Corps in the South Pacific.
Francis said the war memorial effort "exemplifies what freedom is all about. There are countries in the world that would never have allowed this endeavor . . . ." In his talk Oveson said the dedicatory services were not held to celebrate war but to "celebrate freedom. . . . We are here to remind ourselves and to remember the costs of freedom, the cost to stay vigilant in the future, to make sure we maintain the freedom that is most precious to all of us."
In his dedicatory prayer, David M. Kennedy, whose grandfather, John Kennedy, dedicated the World I monument in 1922, said the memorial was erected to "remind each of us and succeeding generations of the loyalty, the bravery and courage of the large number of men and women of Rich County . . . ."