SALT LAKE CITY — Earlier this month, Governor Gary R. Herbert paid tribute to Utah’s oldest veterans at a ceremony today at the Utah State Capitol.
A total of 22 veterans in their hundredth year of life were recognized at the event Nov. 6. The group included veterans from several armed forces branches, with their experiences and service reaching from the Aleutian Islands to the Philippines to North Africa to the beaches of Normandy.
“These veterans are a living history of the sacrifice and courage the Greatest Generation faced, both at home and abroad,” Herbert said. “I am grateful for the service of these brave men and women, and their continuing contributions to this country and the state of Utah.”
Before, during and after the program, the Utah National Guard 23rd Army Band’s Brass Quintet treated guests of the honorees to music. Herbert, Utah Senator Stuart Adams, and Utah Department of Veterans & Military Affairs Executive Director Gary Harter spoke to the courage and sacrifice of the veterans recognized.
“These individuals put their lives on hold and answered the call during the largest war the world has ever seen,” Harter said. “We should strive to honor, listen and learn from these veterans’ service and sacrifice.”
All of the veterans honored at the ceremony served during World War II. The group included paratroopers, pilots, mechanics, crewmen, clerks, infantry, and sailors. Some were career soldiers, serving for more than 25 years, and went on to also serve in the Korean War, while others consciously put their lives on hold in the name of service. They ranged in age from 99-102.
Joseph Stoddard Allen, David Haws Curtis, Dan Eastman, Hal Edison, Eugene England, Lillie Fitzsimons, George Ford, John Frey, Eugene Burton Hecker, Lloyd Hicken, Earl Jacklin, Norton James, Robert Larson, Donna Mecham, Stanley Nance, Woodrew New, Jerome Peterson, Robert Simmons, Eldon Sloan, Richard T. Stucki, Albert Vise and Paul Young.
Of the more than 16 million Americans who served in World War II, fewer than 500,000 are still alive today.
The UDVMA invites families of veterans in their hundredth year of life to contact the department at 801-326-2372 or firstname.lastname@example.org to ensure they receive a small token from the governor, which recognizes both their service and age milestone.