Hundreds honor those who served during Veterans Day gathering at SunRiver in St. George

ST. GEORGE — Hundreds gathered for a patriotic ceremony at SunRiver to recognize the nation’s military members and veterans for their service and to honor them for their sacrifice to the country.

Patriot Guard Riders of Southern Utah provide a motorcycle escort during Veterans Day ceremony at SunRiver Veterans Honor Park in St. George, Utah, Nov. 11, 2021 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

The 11th annual event was held at the SunRiver Veterans Honor Park on Thursday at 9 a.m., in honor of Veterans Day that falls each year on Nov. 11, which is the anniversary of the signing of the armistice that ended World War I. The Patriot Guard Riders of Southern Utah provided a motorcycle escort to open the ceremony.

John Mayer played the bagpipes, and members of American Legion Post 142, Marine Corps League Detachment 1270 and the Knights of Columbus 4th Degree Honor Guard all participated in the flag ceremony.

Guest speaker retired U.S. Army Colonel James T. Pierson talked about his service during the Vietnam War, which he called “the longest and costliest conflict of the cold war era,” a war in which more than 8.7 million Americans served, he added.

More than 58,000 died during the conflict, and another 300,000 were injured, and many thousands were honored for their valor during the conflict.

Pierson also said more than 2,640 military members went missing in action, and of those, 1,062 have been found, leaving more than 1,584 are still unaccounted for. The search for the missing POWs continues to this day.

“Even after more than 58 years later – we are still looking for them,” Pierson said.

He added that some believe the United States lost the war in Vietnam, but in all reality, the efforts on the part of the military helped to stop the spread of communism. So in that respect, he said, their efforts were successful.

He also said the sacrifice that military members continue to make should be honored, along with their families who have made a significant sacrifice to the country.

Honor Guard participate in a flag ceremony during Veterans Day ceremony at SunRiver Veterans Honor Park in St. George, Utah, Nov. 11, 2021 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

The colonel closed by saying the United States military and all of the veterans who have served since the country’s formation have fought to protect the freedoms that all enjoy, by sending the very best young men and women to serve their country, efforts that have “kept the torch of liberty burning for the oldest republic on Earth.”

“Their nation remains eternally grateful,” Pierson said.

St. George Police Chief Kyle Whitehead attended with several of his officers, as well as a number of firefighters from the St. George Fire Department.

Vietnam Veterans of America 961 and the Patriot Guard Riders of Southern Utah were also in attendance.

Tom Cover, who has served as the event’s master of ceremonies for a decade, was recovering from a recent surgery and unable to attend Thursday’s gathering.

During the month of November, commemorative bricks that can be placed at the park are on sale for $200 each to honor veterans. Contact Cover at 435-669-4141 for more information.

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Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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