SunRiver, Wilford Brimley honor veterans with ceremony

ST. GEORGE – A Veterans Day ceremony Friday morning drew hundreds of people to honor members of the armed forces at the SunRiver St. George Veterans Honor Park.

Veterans are honored Friday morning at a ceremony at SunRiver St. George Veterans Honor Park, St. George, Utah, Nov. 11, 2016 | Photo by Julie Applegate, St. George News
Veterans are honored Friday morning at a ceremony at SunRiver St. George Veterans Honor Park, St. George, Utah, Nov. 11, 2016 | Photo by Julie Applegate, St. George News

The ceremony included members of the American Legion, the Marine Corps League, the Patriot Guard Riders, the Knights of Columbus and others.

St. George Mayor Jon Pike led the crowd in singing the national anthem, and actor and former Marine Wilford Brimley gave a short and colorful keynote speech, telling stories of his time in the U.S. Marine Corps. Pike called the Veterans Day program “incredible.”

“A great way to start out Veterans Day right here in St. George, and SunRiver specifically,” Pike said.

The ceremony featured the flags of each branch of the military – Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corp, Merchant Marines and Navy – as well as the American flag and the black and white prisoner of war/missing in action flag flying below it.

Also featured was a fly-by of two Korean War-era military airplanes from the St. George-based Western Sky Aviation Warbird Museum.

Veterans are honored Friday morning at a ceremony at SunRiver St. George Veterans Honor Park, St. George, Utah, Nov. 11, 2016 | Photo by Julie Applegate, St. George News
Veterans are honored Friday morning at a ceremony at SunRiver St. George Veterans Honor Park, St. George, Utah, Nov. 11, 2016 | Photo by Julie Applegate, St. George News

The aircraft were scheduled to fly by immediately after the flags were raised, and while attendees were on their feet waiting for the aircraft, a large hawk swooped in and landed briefly on the tallest flagpole, drawing a collective gasp of appreciation from the crowd.

“I think the service today was really excellent, outstanding,” Rick Massey, a retired gunnery sergeant and Southern Utah Toys for Tots coordinator, said.

“It carries on our legacy, our American heritage, and celebrates those who provided the freedom for us for the liberty we enjoy,” Massey said.

Marva Motley, an 11-year SunRiver resident, enjoyed the singing, the presentation and the ongoing dedication of the volunteers.

Veterans are honored Friday morning at a ceremony at SunRiver St. George Veterans Honor Park, St. George, Utah, Nov. 11, 2016 | Photo by Julie Applegate, St. George News
Veterans are honored Friday morning at a ceremony at SunRiver St. George Veterans Honor Park, St. George, Utah, Nov. 11, 2016 | Photo by Julie Applegate, St. George News

“I think every year it’s a privilege and an honor to be part of the ceremony and listening to all of the military stories,” Motley said. “This is a beautiful park to just be here and walk and bring your family and friends and let them see how honored we are to have this veterans park,” she said.

After the ceremony, small flags were made available for participants to place in the “honor bricks.” The bricks can be purchased by SunRiver residents and others and carry an inscription.

The SunRiver Veterans Memorial Park is five years old. It was dedicated Nov. 11, 2011, at 11:11 a.m., Carole Cover said. The park was designed and built with funds donated by SunRiver residents and others.

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Email: japplegate@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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