Letter to the Editor: a Veteran's Perspective
On Nov. 12 our county had the privilege of meeting together and participating in a historic ceremony to dedicate the new Veterans Memorial Monument located just south of the museum in Castle Dale. It was an outstanding program and brought pride and increased patriotism to those that attended.
I wanted to share some additional background information about how the monument came to be because it was omitted from the dedication ceremony.
During Utah's Centennial year, my family and I took the opportunity to visit each county in the state. During our visits, I noticed that many of the counties had some type of memorial for the veterans. I had also noticed that in Emery County some of the towns had small memorials to honor their veterans, but there wasn't a Veterans Memorial on a countywide basis. I started to put together some ideas in my mind as to what a memorial to the veterans of Emery County might look like. At that time I belonged to Post Number 8, and then three years ago I transferred my membership to Post 73 in Huntington so I could be affiliated with a local post. The night I attended my first meeting I was elected vice commander and Ray Quinn was elected commander. One of my first proposals to the Post was that we work on getting a county monument to honor the veterans from our area. After some discussion, the decision was made to work first on putting small monuments in each of the cemeteries of our Post-Elmo, Cleveland, Huntington and Lawrence. We were able to accomplish this goal in only one year.
The next year I brought up again the suggestion to work on getting a countywide memorial. Our commander took the proposal to the county commissioners and gained their approval. The commissioners suggested that a committee be set up to explore ideas concerning what we wanted the memorial to look like. Since I had already been thinking about this for a number of years, I put my ideas down on paper, made a small-scale model for the monument and presented them to Ray Quinn and the committee.
The monument committee approved my ideas and suggested I write up a description of what I felt each part of the monument symbolized. Ray then took the small-scale model and the description and presented them to the county commissioners. They approved the plans and decided the lawn south of the museum would be a good location for a Veterans Memorial Monument.
My plan consisted of having five marble stones to represent each of the major conflicts our country has been involved in since World War I. The stones were to signify the dark side of war. In front of the stones I wanted two benches to be installed so people would have a place to come and sit and meditate and hopefully heal from the traumas of war. In front of the benches I wanted a statue of a soldier on a pedestal to act as a sentinel to protect the sacred ground surrounding the memorial. I wanted the American flag and the state flag to also be displayed next to the soldier to depict his patriotism to state and country. In front of the soldier a cannon was to be placed to act as a warning to all enemies, either domestic or foreign, that we will rise again and serve when and if the call comes.
The whole monument was designed to be facing the western horizon because it is there that the sun sets. As it drops below the horizon, we lay our heads down to sleep each night and find some peace within our souls. May the memorial help us to find the peace that we all seek.
I hope this helps to bring a better understanding of how the Veterans Memorial Monument for Emery County came to be and the meaning and symbolism of each piece of art found on that sacred ground.