SALT LAKE CITY — Music and applause filled the Capitol rotunda Thursday as veterans stood for their respective military branches' service songs played by the Utah National Guard Brass Quintet.
The Veterans Day Ceremony, organized by the Utah Department of Veterans and Military Affairs, recognized veterans from all eras, especially celebrating the upcoming 100th anniversary of the World War I armistice.
Gov. Gary Herbert and Weber State University professor Branden Little shared stories of World War I veterans from Utah.
Herbert gave special recognition to the late Maj. Brent Taylor, the mayor of North Ogden, who was killed in Afghanistan last week.
"Still, the fight against evil in the world continues," Herbert said. He added that Taylor was "trying to help those people to enjoy what we have here in Utah. The freedom and liberty we enjoy, he believed the Afghans should enjoy also."
Little spoke about the 1918 armistice and emphasized the importance of preserving historical records and stories.
"I suspect all of us here have World War I stories," he said. "I encourage you to find them and to recover them, to invest in them and to unearth them."
Kris Irvin and Charlotte Schurtz shared poetry from and about the war, and in addition to music from the National Guard quintet, the Tribeca Ensemble played "Banks of Green Willow," by George Butterworth.
"This is a tremendous opportunity, 100 years later, to pay tribute to those who served," said Rep. Steve Handy, R-Layton, who helped secure funding for the Utah World War I Centennial Commission to identify and clean up monuments for the war in Utah. "I just hope that people will remember that the state of Utah really came out of obscurity during that time and stepped up in a big way to participate. And we should remember that."
The governor urged the audience to not only honor the fallen soldiers on Veterans Day, but also those who lived and those who serve today.1 comment on this story
"(Veterans) help us be the beacon to the world we ought to be, the standard bearer for freedom that ought to be entitled to every human being in this world, and we will continue to work and fight against evil until that is the case," Herbert said.
He continued, "I pray that the examples of valor, patriotism, dedication, commitment and concern for their fellow man, we will all take that into account and rededicate ourselves, our lives, to be better citizens, to uphold the values of this country as we work to provide freedom and liberty for all."