WEST JORDAN, Utah (ABC4 News) – Celebrating, honoring, remembering. Today, Americans paid tribute to those who sacrificed their life for our country.
In West Jordan at the Military Services Monument in Veterans Memorial Park a crowd gathered to pay tribute to that sacrifice. City officials hosted the traditional Memorial Day Tribute. The program included remarks for local and state officials including Rep. Mia Love (R) and Army Master Sgt. Gordon Ewell – a Bronze Star, Purple Heart, and Combat Action Badge recipient. Music was performed by the 23rd Army Band, the Utah Pipe Band, and Nathan Osmond.
Families of military personnel and veterans of wars past made up the crowd along various citizens who wanted to pay tribute to the sacrifices made by our men and women in uniform. Among those in the audience was Teena Nemelka, for her today held bigger meaning for her and her family.
As the song heard at every fallen heroes funeral played on, it’s a song she is all too familiar with, as that very song played at the funeral of her son – Private First Class Aaron Nemelka – killed at the Fort Hood shooting in 2009.
“He actually told me, the last time I saw him, thought that something would happen to him. But, never did I ever expect that it would be on the base here in the United States,” said his mother Teena Nemelka.
On this day, we thank the brave men and women, like Aaron, who gave their lives for their country.
“They just want their loved ones to be remembered,” said Rep. Mia Love (R). “And they want to make sure they didn’t die in vain and what I tell them is this country is worth fighting for. Their service was worth it.”
As the nation gathered to honor that sacrifice and pay tribute to their service the ceremony in West Jordan was filled of symbolic gestures. This year’s program included a special tribute to prisoners-of-war and those who went missing-in-action. A roll call was issued for the soldier who will never return home. A 21 gun salute rang through the air. Flowers were placed near a headstone and in the center of the ceremony a table stood with an empty chair. Meant to represent the mission soldier.
America’s colors could not shine any brighter than today when the country pays tribute to those who have died serving this country. As missed as they are by their loved ones, friends and family of America’s fallen soldiers say they are honored to have a hero in their family who fought and died for his or her family and country.