By Sarah Dallof
Sarah Dallof reporting
Saturday marked 52 years of Veterans Day concerts for the Utah National Guard 23rd Army Band, a tribute attended by hundreds.
The 23rd Army Band performance was just one of several events held across the state honoring those who defended and who currently serve our country.
Veterans Day actually falls on Sunday this year and will be observed Monday nationally, but many got a head start Saturday at ceremonies around the state.
“If you’re reading this while Mama’s standing there, looks like I’ve only got a one way ticket over here.”
That song set the somber tone of Taylorsville’s Tribute to Fallen Soldiers.
Renee Sorensen, with the Taylorsville Exchange Club, said, “It’s a sincere memorial and heartfelt thanks for the ultimate sacrifice for the loss of their loved ones.”
The Taylorsville Exchange Club presented the families of fallen soldiers with plaques to be added to the Freedom Shrine and invited them to share memories of their loved ones.
Donna Smith lost her son Daren, a helicopter pilot, in 2003. She said, “It was an honor to be his mother. It was fun to be Daren Smith’s mother. He was so silly and so funny.”
Later in the afternoon there was a touching ceremony at Camp Williams. Governor Huntsman and other dignitaries dedicated a wreath to be later laid at the Veterans Cemetery there.
Veterans in attendance expressed the importance of honoring their comrades and their gratitude to the Governor.
Veteran Bill Hegerman said, “It was outstanding. In the navy we say Bravo Zulu, which means, ‘Job well done.'”
Several high school choirs harmonized with the 23rd Army Band for the 52nd annual Veterans Day Concert.
1st Sgt Robert Wood said, “We have played, and a veteran come up in tears because the band played.”
The program was a compilation of pride and patriotism.
Several more events are planned for Sunday; one of the first is a Veteran’s parade at the Murray baseball park that begins at 11 a.m.