by Louise R. SHAW
WOODS CROSS—Emotions were close to the surface for many in attendance at the Memorial Day programs in Davis County.
The sun came out just as the Woods Cross event was getting underway early on the holiday morning.
More than 800 people had started the day an hour earlier, running the streets of the city in a 5K. Before being hosted at a breakfast, many gathered for a flag ceremony and speeches.
Jason Richburg sat near the front with his service dog by his side.
“It’s hard,” he said of listening to the service honoring those who have served and sacrificed. “But I’m glad they’re doing it.”
Richburg served 12 tours of duty with Special Operations. He has broken his back and his neck. He lost a leg.
“I want people to be proud of this country,” he said. “People don’t understand what rights they have and what’s been given for them to have those rights.”
Richburg’s mother-in-law, Sue Corbridge, knows what has been given.
“We have the freedom to do as we choose,” she said, “and sometimes we don’t appreciate it until we see someone who has been injured.”
Sterling Poulson, the keynote speaker, urged all in attendance to remember those who have lost their lives, those who were injured, and the families that have loved and supported them.
Poulson is known locally as the chief meteorologist for KUTV Channel 2, but he also served in the Air Force for 27 years and is a Vietnam veteran, according to an introduction by Mayor Rick Earnshaw.
The stories of suffering, death and injury on the battlefields of history are endless, said Poulson.
As we visit cemeteries to lay flowers, or hospitals to talk with those injured, “let us renew our commitment to preserve that freedom that came with such a high price,” he said.
He quoted Abraham Lincoln’s remarks in the Gettysburg Address: “It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us…”
“Let us not just honor the words,” said Poulson, “let us live with increased devotion to the cause of freedom.”
Freedom isn’t imposed on a country, he said, it comes from a desire that resides in each of us to be free.
He encouraged those gathered to live with a renewed spirit of understanding, love to their neighbors, and to “remove the barriers we so often put up around ourselves.”
He asked people to live with honesty, to work to be educated and to “live life to the fullest,” being “brave, diligent and resilient.”
“The strength for America comes from each and every one of us doing our part,” he said, and each American should pledge to make sure they are “doing what you need to do” for America.