FARMINGTON — Officials gave a reminder that freedom is not free when they proclaimed Davis County the first Purple Heart county in the state.
The measure aimed at raising awareness and showing appreciation for veterans was made official Feb. 16. Local recipients of the Purple Heart were in attendance.
“Certainly this is the least we could do for you,” said Davis County Commissioner John Petroff Jr. at the event.
The West Point City Council made a similar proclamation the same night, making the municipality the state’s first Purple Heart city. Davis County Rep. Mike Schultz (R-District 12) also is sponsoring a bill, House Joint Resolution 11, to proclaim Utah as a Purple Heart state.
Davis County officials said they were proud for the measure to be introduced.
“Davis County appreciates the sacrifices our Purple Heart recipients made in defending our country and our freedoms and believes it is important that we acknowledge and honor them for their military service and courage,” the proclamation said.
Davis County Commissioner Jim Smith said the veterans present reminded him of his father-in-law, a World War II veteran.
“He was a strong enough man that he could be humble and peaceful,” Smith said. “I worry sometimes our younger generation doesn’t get it, but we can help them.”
Following the ceremony, a West Point man also voiced his support for veterans.
“We’re tickled to death to be the first city in the state to recognize (Purple Heart recipients),” said former West Point Mayor Howard Stoddard, also a World War II veteran and chairman of the West Point memorial committee. “It helps show appreciation of the service they have performed.”
Some Purple Heart recipients in attendance said the designation is nothing they aspired to in their lives, but they’re grateful for the recognition.
“I think once in a while you need to keep in mind the sacrifice — freedom isn’t free,” said Purple Heart recipient Air Force Lt. Col. (retired) Jay Hess. “It’s hard to realize the price of freedom.”