Category — Memorials
“Yesterday, December 7th, 1941, a date, which will live in infamy” started Franklin Roosevelt’s address to Congress that opened World War II. A shocked America listened to their radio’s growing increasingly angry as they heard each word. People immediately rallied around their President and their Flag and then began grieving for the 2,403 Sailors, Soldiers and Marines killed in that attack.
As the fleet laid at anchored in a clam harbor the process of daily life was coming about. On the deck of the USS Arizona the band was playing the National Anthem as sailors were raising the flag when the first bullets were fired and bombs & torpedo’s dropped. The first ship hit by a torpedo in the attack was the aging target ship, and once proud Battleship Utah. She was a veteran of the Mexican conflict and World War I and the first causality of World War II. The Utah was hit first because she was on the opposite side of Battleship Row were the real targets where anchored, but she was closest to the on coming planes. The Utah like the USS Oklahoma was hit in such a fashion that she quickly rolled over facing straight down at berth. Many crew-members never made it out of their ships to see the light of another day.
When the USS Arizona blew up as an enemy bomb pierce her deck and landed in her magazine full of munitions, the force of the explosion took the ship right up out of the water and almost broke in two. Her causality numbers were great. The Attack did not last long, but its impact was devastating.
In the days that followed airplane hangers, and open yards where lined with wooded coffins draped in the red, white and blue of our proud Flag. So many wives, mothers and husbands heard the words of a military officer as they handed them a neatly folded flag. On behalf of the President of the United States and a grateful Nation, we present you this flag in honor of your son, daughter’s or husband’s service. Remember Pearl Harbor, and other phrases like remembering the Alamo, and Maine, and closer to our generation remember 9/11 should never be forgotten.
Be one of America’s proud defenders of liberty and freedom, fly the Flag!
December 6, 2011 No Comments
For me, a monument or commemorative statue is a symbol of something that needs remembered or affected people in a permanent way. The word ‘Monument’ has many connotations, but what does the term actually mean? There are several definitions, but here are just a few…
1. A structure, such as a building or sculpture, erected as a memorial.
2. An inscribed marker placed at a grave; a tombstone.
3. Something venerated for its enduring historic significance or association with a notable past person or thing: the architectural monuments of ancient Rome; traditions that are monuments to an earlier era.
4.a. An outstanding enduring achievement: a translation that is a monument of scholarship.
b. An exceptional example: “Thousands of them wrote texts, some of them monuments of dullness” (Robert L. Heilbroner).
5. An object, such as a post or stone, fixed in the ground so as to mark a boundary or position.
The ‘Hope Rising – To Lift A Nation’ monument fits many of these descriptions. It is partially a memorial, a commemorative figure reminding us of those that willingly gave their lives for others on that fateful day of 9/11. It echoes the solemnity of a tomb as stands as a marker for the dead, a tribute to the fallen. It aptly represents something of ‘enduring historic significance’ as it is a constant reminder of one of the events that shook the world forever. As far as an ‘outstanding enduring achievement’ goes, what greater achievement is there than instilling hope in others at their darkest hour?
For me, this monument is a tangible means by which to commemorate the dead, remember the past and look forward to the future with hope. In years to come my children will see it, and hopefully their children also, which encourages me that the lives lost and the lessons learn will not be forgotten. Let us always remember the day we lost so many, but stood together…
November 21, 2011 No Comments
Across the vast grassy expanse in front of Sandy City Hall flew a blaze of red, white and blue in remembrance of the fallen. Marking the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks the flags each reverently bore the name of someone that lost their life at the World Trade Center, Pentagon or Shanksville. The field was a sight to behold as our great nation’s symbol of hope waved majestically across a quarter mile, that was filled with volunteers, patriots and those paying their respects. True to the name of the event, the Utah Healing Field Flag Display brought a sense of healing to more than one hundred thousand visitors.
This monumental display began on Wednesday September 7th with hundreds of local citizens helping post the 3000 flags. For many, the posting of the Stars and Stripes in Sandy has become a yearly tradition and reminder of the light that can rise from darkness. Some even take their Christmas card pictures at the field as a tribute to the fallen and a symbol of their support for the emergency responders that do such important work.
Memorial ceremonies began on Saturday and finished on Sunday evening, The morning of the first day, crowds gathered early in anticipation of events and needless to say, no one was disappointed. Over a thousand Harley Davidson bikers, led by a vintage fire engine and police motorcycle escort, paraded through the streets surrounding the Healing Field. Parking amid a display of emergency vehicles and military equipment, they joined the assembled visitors in honoring the victims and watching the unveiling of a new monument dedicated to emergency responders. The inspiring program was attended by three of Utah’s Congressional delegation, two general officers and even Miss Utah. A Life Flight helicopter circled the field in a fitting salute to those lost. The aircraft dipped in a respectful bow then disappeared out of sight.
Frank Layden, former basketball coach for the Utah Jazz, and long time resident of both Utah and the City of New York spoke to the assembled audience. He shared stories of his time in the firehouses near Ground Zero and touched the hearts of all who listened, with tales of bravery and sacrifice. He then introduced former Utah Jazz star Thurl Bailey, who graced the crowd with song as three thousand white balloons were released to the heavens. One for each lost soul.
Next came the great reveal, and after some brief words from Paul Swenson—the event’s creator and organizer- and sculptor Stan Watts, the statue was unveiled for all to see. The sudden appearance of the magnificent “Hope Rising—To Lift A Nation “ monument caused tears to well in many an eye and provided a lasting reminder of what regular Americans can do to lift and inspire others.
On Sunday, ceremonies included the reading of victim names, not forgetting Utah’s fallen soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan. This ceremony attracted perhaps the largest group of Gold Star Mothers and families ever assembled in the Beehive State. In keeping with the theme of the monument, Utah’s Fallen Frontline Responders were also included in the reading of names.
There were feelings of sadness as the field of flags was lovingly taken down on Wednesday the 14th, though some local citizens got to start there very own field by purchasing a flag and taking it home. The grassy expanse looked bare and cold with out the familiar warmth of the Stars and Stripes to brighten it. Every day thousands of visitors had walked through the ordered rows of flags in the Healing Field as they read the nametags of the victims honored. Talking with Colonial Flag Foundation staff members, they all had a story to tell: where they were when they heard, who they had lost and who was saved. Smiles, tears and hugs characterized the emotions shared.
I encourage anyone who has yet to enjoy the experience of walking through these rows of flags to get to a local field and do so. Having a physical representation of each life that was lost will change you forever. Bring your children and your children’s children. If there is not a field near you then start one, the Colonial Flag Foundation can help. We must always remember the loss that day. Must honor them. Must heal. Let us never forget the day we lost so many… Yet stood together.
September 23, 2011 No Comments