|Commander Ray Quinn and Vice Commander Blake Jones demonstrate the proper flag folding procedure. |
Memorial Day is always a special time of remembrance at Huntington Cemetery, but this year had special significance for several reasons.
The troops of the 1457th National Guard had all returned home safely after serving in Iraq and patriotism and thankfulness are heavy on people's minds.
The opening of the beautiful new World War II Memorial in Washington D.C. was being dedicated and shown to all the world on live TV that brought to mind the people in our own families who served.
And the people who built and restored the Huntington Cemetery's south entrance were honored with a new plaque and praise and thanks in words and in song.
At noon, the American Legion Post 73 formed ranks under the U.S. flag flying at half mast under the direction of Commander Ray Quinn. They were looking especially sharp this year in the newly designed vests. Commander Quinn welcomed everyone. The Chaplain's Prayer was given by Owen Olsen. Other members present and participating in the rifle salute were Vice Commander Blake Jones, Bert Leamaster, Vernon Jensen, Hal Nielson, Ira Hatch and Max Larsen.
Not only were the rifle shots a poignant reminder of our troops gone before but also of those serving and dying for our freedoms even today.
The mournful sound of Taps by Bruce Clement, Scout Troop 310 of Elmo, became even more haunting with the paying of an echo of two more cornets by Zachary Clement and Brett Mecham. These young men who have been formally recognized as official American Legion Buglers, play Taps at many funerals, programs and activities throughout the AL district 9, southeastern Utah area.
Scouts Skylar Carpenter and Caleb Jones of Huntington Troop 304 and Jake Clement, did the honor of raising "Old Glory" to full staff as Taps sounded.
As part of the program, AL auxiliary secretary Jennie Olsen read the WWII poem of Flander's Field. Francey Handley read about the steps of folding the flag and what each fold means as Commander Quinn and Vice Commander Jones folded the flag in demonstration. Other Unit 73 auxiliary members present were Jane Jensen, Valinda Roush and Sylvia Nelson.
Vice Commander Jones brought the large audience to tears with a recitation of the Ragged Old Flag. Commander Quinn noted that there were similar presentations made by Post 73 prior in the day at both Cleveland and Elmo cemeteries. "This post is in full swing of procuring grants for memorial plaques at all district 9 cemeteries to honor Veterans of all wars, past and present," stated Quinn. "Your donations are needed and appreciated. Just send to AL Post 73/Quinn, Box 126, Cleveland, UT 84518."
As a representative of Emery County Historical Society, Sylvia Nelson told about the work of members of the community over the years to make Huntington Cemetery a place of peace and rest, and how the new plaque honoring the work making the old stone pillars entrance and the restoration of these simple but stately structures was so important to her and to the community.
Bert Oman, president of the historical society, was introduced and spoke of current projects and outing of the society, encouraged people to join and to help with protection and restoration of old buildings and landmarks in our county and state. "So many are being lost, closed to us, or vandalized, and we must be on the alert together to prevent this," stated Oman.
Former councilman over the cemetery, Norm Richardson, represented Huntington City and talked of all the work, hours, materials and money put into the cemetery in the past few years. "The evidence shows in the beautiful brick and iron fence and magnificent arch entrance and sign," Richardson pointed out. He thanked Nielson Construction for their huge part in the project, Danny Curtis of Orangeville, for the hours of superb work, and Darren Gardner and Mac's Mining for the crafting of the metal sign which hangs beneath the arch.
Curtis, the brick mason who built the new fence, stepped forward to much applause, to thank Nielson's and tell how he got involved with the restoration of the old stone pillars originally erected by Victor Ungerman in 1938. He thanked Fon Leamaster, Vic's grandson, for the help he had given to the project. He mentioned how much we lose of our history "Because we live in a throw away world."
Beulah Mae McElprang Oveson had written her memories and thoughts of her Grandfather Ungerman and his time. She and her sister, Eddis McElprang Witt, read excerpts from a history written by their mother, Beulah Ungerman McElprang, telling of his service not only to the community in building all kinds of structures and buildings throughout Emery County, but how he helped families during the bad flu epidemic by caring for the sick, taking in food and water, and helping to take care of and bury the dead; doing all he could to help others, and by staying away from his own family for a long period of time to ensure their health. Evidence of how much Victor was loved by his daughter was summed up in the final words she wrote, "O, my Papa, to me he was so wonderful."
There was quite a gathering of the descendents of Victor and Anne Marie (Hansen) Ungerman attending the program. However, the two living children (of 10) June U. Phelps, Huntington, and Ralph Ungerman, California, were unable to attend.
Those donating to the plaque were: Tom McElprang, Beulah Mae Oveson, Fon Leamaster, Donna Lemmon, Lee McElprang, Mary Marie Sitterud, Eddis Witt, Faye Leamaster Brown, Ralph L. Ungerman, The Beulah U. McElprang estate, Mac's Mining and Repair, LaRene Ivie, Sylvia Nelson, Huntington City, Emery County Historical Society and the Emery County Centennial History Book Committee. Those wishing to help with this project can send donations to Huntington City designated to Pillars Project.
Dale Ungerman, a great-nephew of master stonemason, Ungerman, closed the program with the fitting song 'These Hands."
Much visiting, picture taking, visiting of graves, and remembering went on for hours. People were excited over the new afghans being sold by Huntington City with a special logo designed by Julie Jones who is serving as councilman over the cemetery and youth council.
Copies of the talks given and histories written will be given to the Emery County Archives so that other generations can know more of the tough and tender people who made this county the great place to live we know today.
Wording on the plaque: Huntington City Cemetery was laid out shortly after settlement on a cold day in November 1879. The survey was done by David H. Leonard, Wm. H. Avery and Albert Guymon, Sr., to make a suitable burial place for little Elam Cheney, Jr.
In 1938, two entrance columns were hand hewn and set by mater stonemason, Victor Ungerman at the request of Mayor LaVar Gunderson. Other masons of the time, Eugene Sherman and Alma Mortensen may also have assisted.
That same year, the "CCC Boys" graveled the cemetery roads and planted trees under the direction of Councilman Jack Corgiat.
These stone pillars were restored in 2001 by stonemason, Danny Curtis and Fon Leamaster. Information from "Emery County, 1880-1980."