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Orem plans special Veterans Day celebration

OREM — It was the "war to end all wars," and with its armistice, World War I gave this country a new look and a heightened awareness of the military veteran — particularly veterans who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

While many Americans and Utahns will celebrate Veterans Day this year with local merchants at door-buster sales, others will be remembering the sacrifices of veterans from all wars past and present with 21-gun salutes, flag ceremonies, somber renditions of taps and patriotic speeches.

Many of these programs will be orchestrated by members of the American Legion, a veterans service organization. Orem resident Bert Gividen, vice commander and member of the Orem American Legion Post 72, has been burning computers keys and shoe leather to make sure this year's event in Orem is a special one. His drive has everything to do with his love of country and patriotism.

"This is a chance to say thanks to the men and women who served this country," Gividen said. "It is the spirit of patriotism."

Gividen's military service was in the early 1950s in Korea. He talks about his service time as a soldier and one of his greatest memories.

"I remember when I was in the Korean War, and when it was over I had the opportunity to march in a parade and helped in creating the DMZ (demilitarized zone). I watched the pullback, and the heaviest guarded border in the world," he said. "Seeing the flag flying in a foreign land, I just appreciated what that flag means and those who sacrificed for it."

Gividen said the Veterans Day activities are on Saturday, Nov. 12, instead of the actual holiday to give working residents the weekend opportunity to celebrate with more than 300 veterans, military personnel and ROTC units.

New this year to the annual Veterans Day celebration at the Orem City Cemetery, 1500 N. 800 East, is the Veterans Memorial March, featuring more than 250 uniformed personnel and a special flag ceremony.

"Mayor (Jerry) Washburn asked us to do a flag exchange twice a year, on Memorial Day and then change the flags on Veterans Day," Gividen said. "There will also be an exchange of all military flags."

Joining Washburn will be members of the Orem City Council and the Orem Heritage Commission and Brigham Young University's national award-winning ROTC cadet drill team.

Listed below is the program at the Orem cemetery followed by a variety of free events for veterans throughout the day.

8 a.m.: Veterans Memorial March from the entrance to the cemetery following the south road to the Veterans Memorial on the east side.

9 a.m.: Veterans Day flag exchange, featuring a Commemorative Air Force World War II PT-17 flyover, the Orem High School band and a 21-gun salute.

10 a.m.: Veterans Day festivities begin and displays open at the SCERA Center, 745 S. State.