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Flags flutter in honor

2 memorials pay tribute to 9/11 and war dead

Flags raised in honor of those who tried to help and those who couldn't be helped on Sept. 11, 2001, dominated two memorial ceremonies Friday.

Calling it "an opportunity to remember what happened," cadets from Peace Officers Standards and Training and the Utah Highway Patrol gathered on the grassy common area of the Calvin Rampton Complex, 4525 S. 2700 West. Groups of cadets marched in from different sides before the flag raising.

The service was focused on those who died on 9/11 but should be as much for those who have died in service since, said Utah Highway Patrol Col. Scott Duncan.

Ogden Assistant Police Chief Randy Watt, who is also a lieutenant colonel with the Utah National Guard, talked about his love of freedom and the United States as well as his time serving in Afghanistan. "I have never failed to return to the United States and drop to my knees and praise the God I worship that I am an American," he said in his keynote address.

Watt recognized those who served overseas as well as local law enforcers who do their part to protect freedom.

"Freedom is not free. It is bought with the blood of patriots," he said. "Freedom must be maintained through constant vigilance."

Watt's "most prized possession" is an American flag that flew over his command post in Afghanistan and now hangs on the wall in his office.

"That flag flew when soldiers gave the ultimate sacrifice," he said. "Heroes are those who have given their all."

After a moment of silence, the UHP Honor Guard gave a 21-gun salute before the playing of Taps.

Friday evening, despite dark clouds over Sandy, the setting sun lighted a field lined by 3,000 American flags, a fitting illustration of emotions expressed by the small crowd gathered at Sandy City Hall to remember American soldiers, law enforcement officers and fire fighters, businessmen and women who died on 9/11.

The flags were part of a "Healing Field" memorial ceremony held Friday. "September 11 is a time to remember, to reflect on the sacrifice of men and women in uniform and also the sacrifice of their families," said Maj. Gen. Peter Cook, commanding general of the Reserve Regional Readiness Command.

"Today while we shudder at the memory, we also stand and salute courage; in the darkness of despair, bravery shown through."

As Cook spoke, eight men and one woman began a slow march in front of the crowd representing the military, law enforcement and fire fighters. They carried items that represented fallen comrades: empty boots, a gun, hats, dog tags.

"We will act on our beliefs and we will not be victims of terror," said Cook, watching as the items were placed onto a memorial. The wind sharpened as he spoke, but the darkened sky turned yellow as the sun began to set. "Today is a day for memories," said Cook

Chris Francis, Zan Elliott and Rob Webb were the three members of the Sandy city police force chosen to pay tribute to fallen comrades during the ceremony. All said the ceremony was emotional but something they were proud to be part of.

Both Francis and Elliott served during operation Iraqi Freedom. "It was an honor," said Elliott of the memorial ceremony. "It was a reminder of what we work for — freedom."

And that's something that shouldn't be forgotten, said Matt Hufford, a Utah father who was in the south World Trade Center tower on Sept. 11.

"It's my biggest fear that we will forget," he said in a speech at the beginning of the ceremony. "I hope and pray that we will be vigilant in our remembrance of 9/11."

The "Healing Field" flags will be on display at Sandy City Hall until 5 p.m. Monday. For more information about the memorial, go to: www.healingfield.org.


E-mail: preavy@desnews.com; nwarburton@desnews.com