Stockton residents, representatives of the U.S. armed forces and local veterans joined to witness and participate in a solemn dedication ceremony to honor the community’s veterans and fallen soldiers of war at the town’s new veterans’ memorial park on Saturday.
The Stockton Veterans’ Memorial Park is located just south of the Stockton LDS Church at 405 N. Connor Ave.
Among the list of attending dignitaries were Dugway Proving Ground Commander Col. Brant D. Hoskins and Veterans of Foreign Wars Utah State Commander Stanley Martinez. Stockton Mayor Mark Whitney conducted the proceedings as master of ceremonies.
The focal point of the park was unveiled by Rob and Caroline Kowalski on behalf of Caroline Kowalski’s brother, Pfc. Michael Mermjo, who did not return to his hometown of Stockton from his Vietnam service. The fallen soldier sculpture the couple uncovered depicts a soldier’s boots and helmet, with the helmet perched atop the imagined soldier’s rifle.
In addition to that sculpture and its list of soldiers, three other engraved stone monuments were revealed. They also list names of Stockton veterans of war along with inscriptions of the fallen soldiers’ names.
Following the raising of the U.S. flag by the Utah National Guard 19th Special Forces, each of the six armed services flags were raised by Stockton residents. The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9413 then presented a volley of gunfire in tribute to fellow veterans.
At the close of the ceremony, participants milled around the grounds, taking in the significance of the monuments, sculpture and stone memorials for those who served honorably to protect both their homeland and freedoms on foreign soil.