Utahns have the opportunity to celebrate freedom this Fourth of July a new way - but it doesn't involve sparklers or firecrackers. The groundbreaking of the Vietnam War memorial that will be built on the State Capitol grounds will be held at 2 p.m. July 4.
The public is invited to attend the ceremony, which will feature speeches from former POW Air Force Lt. Col. J.C. Hess; Lt. Gov. Val Oveson and David Gardner, a Vietnam veteran and founder of the concept for the statewide memorial.The ceremony will be held in a grove of trees west of the Capitol. Utah County Commissioner Brent Morris will be the emcee, and the Rev. Thomas J. Meersman, a World War II POW, will offer the invocation.
The state provided the ground for the memorial, which will include an 8-foot statue of an infantryman, sculpted by Clyde Morgan, a Vietnam veteran and former Utahn. The statue depicts a young soldier returning from battle, carrying the rifle of a fallen friend.
The monument will be about 60 feet in diameter and will have four black marble plaques listing the names of the state's 364 servicemen killed in Vietnam or missing in action. It is being erected by the Utah Vietnam Era Veterans Memorial Committee with public donations.
Ted L. Livingston, committee chairman, said the group has already raised more than $50,000 and is optimistic of reaching its $231,000 goal.
For more information, call 571-0615.