Cedar City remembers fallen World War I soldiers, honors others during Memorial Day ceremony

Attendees at Memorial Day ceremony at Cedar City Cemetery, Cedar City, Utah, May 28, 2018 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

CEDAR CITY — Hundreds of people gathered at Cedar City Cemetery Monday morning to pay tribute to the memory of those who’ve served in the armed forces.

Although Memorial Day is designated as a time to remember fallen soldiers from any and all wars and conflicts, special attention was given Monday to World War I, since that conflict took place almost exactly a century ago.

Bruce Winslow of the Iron County Veterans Coalition speaks during Memorial Day ceremony at Cedar City Cemetery, Cedar City, Utah, May 28, 2018 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

In his remarks during the program, Bruce Winslow, a Navy veteran, noted that Monday marked the 100-year anniversary of an important World War I battle in France.

“By Decoration Day in 1918, the United States had over 1 million Army and Marines in France as the American Expeditionary Force (AEF). The first offensive operation of the battle of the AEF, the battle of Cantigny, took place on May 28, 1918,” Winslow said, adding that his own grandfather was on his way to Europe at the time, along with the other members of his unit.

“We are here today to pay tribute to and honor the eight men from Iron County who died in the service to their country (during World War I),” Winslow added as he then proceeded to read off the names of the eight soldiers, along with when and how they died. They are as follows:

  • Logan H. Bryant, 23, Army, died on his birthday Nov. 23, 1918 of pneumonia at Vancouver, Washington. Buried in Cedar City Cemetery.
  • John F. Clark, 22, Army, died Oct. 27, 1918 of pneumonia at Camp Kearney, California. Buried in Cedar City Cemetery.
  • Harold McConnell, 23, Army, died Oct. 25, 1918 of pneumonia at Camp Kearney, California. Buried in Cedar City Cemetery.
  • Arthur Openshaw, 29, Army, died Nov. 8, 1918 at Camp Fremont, California. Buried in Paragonah Cemetery.
  • Lionel C. Dover, 23, Army, missing and presumed killed in action Sept. 29, 1918. Memorial marker at Cedar City Cemetery.
  • Elmer V. Jesperson, 22, Marines, killed in action in France June 13, 1918. Buried in Buckeye, Arizona.
  • Harry D. Keith, 23, Army, killed in action Oct. 5, 1918. Buried in Carlisle, Indiana.
  • Henry M. Jones, 29, Army, died of wounds Aug. 6, 1918. Buried in Enoch.
Civil Air Patrol cadets raise the flag during Memorial Day ceremony at Cedar City Cemetery, Cedar City, Utah, May 28, 2018 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

Winslow also quoted the words of Gen. John Pershing, who said on Memorial Day in 1919 at the American cemetery in Argonne, France: “Their silence speaks more eloquently than words. … It is up to us to uphold that for which they died.”

As Winslow continued to quote from Pershing’s speech, its concluding words seemed as relevant as they had been when first uttered nearly a century ago: “And now dear comrades, farewell. Here under the clear skies, on the green hillsides and amid the flowering fields of France, in the quiet hush of peace, we leave you forever in God’s keeping.”

Winslow said afterward that he and other researchers are working with the Cedar City Library to create, assemble and enhance WWI-related commemorative displays in time for Veterans Day in November.

Monday’s half-hour event, which was conducted by American Legion Post Commander Darrin Duncan, also included an opening flag ceremony performed by cadets from the local Civil Air Patrol chapter, during which a U.S. flag and a black POW-MIA flag were raised at the cemetery’s veterans monument. A three-volley rifle salute was then given by members of the Iron County Veterans Coalition Honor Guard, after which a bugler played “Taps” as the flags were lowered to half-staff.

Shortly after the flag ceremony, DawnRae Smith and her children Gabe and Maggie were called upon to place a wreath at the front of the monument in honor of the soldiers currently serving in the Middle East. The DawnRae’s husband and the children’s father, Dee Smith, is serving with the U.S. Army in Kuwait.

After a moment of silence, bagpiper Scott Sharp played “Amazing Grace.”

Georgia Johnson, a member of the American Legion Auxiliary, was joined by several teenage Girls State participants as they handed out small flags and red poppies to those in attendance.

A family decorates a grave at Cedar City Cemetery, Cedar City, Utah, May 28, 2018 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

“The poppy was a symbol of remembering our fallen comrades during World War I,” Duncan said, reminding attendees the red flowers were seen on graves in cemeteries throughout Europe during the war.

Duncan said he feels indebted to all those who’ve served, and to their families. “I’m grateful for those who are currently serving and especially to those who have been injured or have laid down their lives in defense of our freedom,” he said.

Following the program, Cedar City resident Bill Bly, 86, a veteran of the Korean War who spent nearly three years as a prisoner of war, told Cedar City News he was impressed by the turnout, which appeared to be in excess of 300 people.

“It’s so wonderful to see all these people here, especially the young children,” Bly said. “It was a great tribute to all of our soldiers, including the many who never made it back home.”

“One thing I hope to see, if I live long enough, is for the Korean War to finally be over,” Bly added. “Many people don’t realize that is hasn’t ever ended.”

Click on photo to enlarge it, then use your left-right arrow keys to cycle through the gallery.

Email: jrichards@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!

Posted in Local, NewsTagged , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.