CEDAR CITY – The public filled the Hunter Conference Center on Southern Utah University’s campus Friday to honor veterans.
Caleb Vadnais, the director for the Veterans Center at SUU, said more than 100 people showed up to support their local veterans, making it one of the larger turnouts in nine years of SUU hosting the Veterans Day Observance Program.
Vadnais said it took him and his committee of eight members more than two weeks working every day, all day, to organize the annual program.
But their work did not go without appreciation by many, especially the veterans, who were grateful for so much community support.
Korean War Cpl. Stan Shakespeare with the 4th Infantry Division said it’s important for the community to take the time and effort to observe Veterans Day and honor those who sacrificed all to maintain the freedoms enjoyed in America.
Shakespeare also said he believes it’s programs such as this that help to teach the youth respect for their veterans and to remember what was sacrificed.
“It’s human nature to remember things that we’re involved with personally and where we don’t have a specific tie it’s easier to forget. That’s just human nature,” Shakespeare said. “I think one of the best ways we can help them respect their veterans is having programs like this and as they get older they will remember these types of programs and they’ll have more meaning to them. These types of programs show the good things America has stood for.”
The program included a special recognition for the service of three veterans: Jessica Elaine Pullan, Chris Powell and Carl Templin.
Vadnais said the three were selected to be honored by their peers who sent in their names to the committee who then went through a process to evaluate each of them.
The veterans in the audience were also specially honored with a pin for their branch of military along with their wives who were given a show of thanks for their sacrifices with a red rose.
The Cedar City High School Band added to the program by playing several musical numbers including service hymns recognizing all branches of the military. SUU’s Women’s Choir sang “God Bless America.”
The final number was TAPS, bringing tears and emotion to many in attendance.