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Utah Department of Veterans & Military Affairs Announces Memorial Day Commemorations

The Utah Department of Veterans & Military Affairs (UDVMA) announced today various opportunities for Utahns to observe Memorial Day and to pay tribute to the fallen. 

“How Utahns honor the men and women who have lost their lives defending the United States will look different from past Memorial Day observances by necessity,” said Gary Harter, executive director of UDVMA. “While the department will not hold public ceremonies, Utah will still honor the fallen and Veterans with solemn dignity and respect.” 

The department shared the following events and ways Utahns may pay tribute to the fallen in this time of social distancing. 

Virtual Ceremony 

On Monday, May 25, at 9:00 a.m., UDVMA will stream a brief wreath-laying ceremony on the department’s Facebook page. The video will include remarks from Governor Gary R. Herbert, Lieutenant Governor Spencer Cox, Brigadier General Michael Turley, and Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall, accompanied by a moment of silence and the playing of Taps. 

Recorded video and photographs from these and other ceremonies will be shared on the Facebook and Twitter pages of the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Utah National Guard, Salt Lake City and the Utah Department of Veterans & Military Affairs. 

Facebook Profile Frame

Memorial Day Weekend is traditionally a time for gathering. Although COVID-19 is impacting the ability to come together physically, Utahns can come together online to remember and honor Utah’s Veterans and their families. A Utah Memorial Day profile frame is available for download on Facebook.

National Moment of Remembrance 

At 3:00 p.m. local time on Memorial Day, Utahns are asked to join Americans across the world to pause for one minute to remember those who have died in military service to the United States. 

Utahns may participate by sounding Taps from their home, porch, or front yard. A video of Taps will be streamed on the department’s Facebook page at 3:00 p.m.

Lowering the Flag 

On Friday, Gov. Herbert, in coordination with President Trump’s Proclamation on Prayer for Peace and Memorial Day, ordered the flags of the United States of America and the great State of Utah to be flown at half-staff at all state office buildings from sunrise until noon on Monday, May 25, 2020, in observation of Memorial Day. 

Individuals and businesses are encouraged to fly the flag at half-staff for the customary forenoon period. 

Happiness for Heroes

Utahns are encouraged to connect with Veterans, current service members, and their families as they reflect upon the services and sacrifices members of the U.S. Armed Forces, past and present, have made in defending the nation. 

In particular, UDVMA invites Utahns to share messages of encouragement, gratitude, and hope with the residents of the state’s four Veterans Home as part of the Happiness for Heroes initiative. Individuals and families may submit videos, letters, artwork, and other messages by visiting veterans.utah.gov/happiness

Utah Veterans Cemetery & Memorial Park

In keeping with CDC guidelines and state health guidelines to limit large gatherings, the department will not host Memorial Day wreath-laying ceremonies open to the public at the Utah Veterans Cemetery & Memorial Park. 

Public events typically associated with Memorial Day at the veterans cemetery, including group placement of flags at gravesites, will not take place. However, volunteers from the department and Utah National Guard worked to ensure flags were placed at all gravesites at the Utah Veterans Cemetery & Memorial Park.

Families may continue the tradition of placing flowers and small American flags at their Veteran’s gravesite at the Utah Veterans Cemetery & Memorial Park in Bluffdale. Due to COVID-19, the chapel and administration building, including restrooms, are closed to the public until further notice. 

Public Health Guidelines

Utahns should follow local health and safety guidelines and maintain physical distancing while visiting cemeteries and war memorials during Memorial Day weekend. Current health risk statuses for cities and counties may be found at coronavirus.utah.gov.

When possible, visitors are urged to consider visiting Friday, Saturday or Sunday to avoid possible crowds on Memorial Day.