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Wreath placed at Capitol to honor veterans

SALT LAKE CITY — Wreaths are a common holiday decoration, but one at the state Capitol Monday serve a higher purpose than just adorning a house.

Wreaths Across America’s Statehouse Ceremony serves as a kickoff to a weeklong series of events designed to raise awareness and appreciation for the sacrifices of our nation’s veterans and their families.

A ceremony took place at the Utah Capitol and simultaneously in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., with a particular focus to honor all veterans and those families that have an empty chair at the holiday table due to a loved one’s military service.

Marine Vietnam Veteran Dennis Howland has coordinated the Utah Statehouse ceremony for Wreaths Across America for the past 7 years. Howland is the President of the N. Utah Vietnam Veterans of America. This year Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox and Veterans Affairs Executive Director Gary Harter spoke at the ceremony to join Howland, Vietnam Veterans, Fleet Reserve Association, Veterans of Foreign Wars and other Utah veterans in placing the wreath at the memorial on the west side of the Capitol.