Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

June 1, 2022
Tooele Elks Lodge hosts Memorial Day Service

War dead remembered 

Over 40 veterans, community members, and local leaders braved the rain on Monday to pay tribute to veterans that gave their lives in service for their county during a Memorial Day program.

The service was held at the Veteran’s Memorial Park in Tooele City at 11 a.m. 

The program began with a welcome from Dave McCall, a retired veteran from the Marine Corps. and Tooele City councilman.

The Sgt. Rodney M. Davis Detachment #1251 of the Marine Corps League posted the colors after which Brian Duncan sang the National Anthem.

Pastor Chris Begnaud, senior pastor at Tooele Springs Calvary Chapel and interim Dugway chaplain, spoke to the audience before giving the opening invocation.

“In my office I have a picture and it’s a sailor who has been on deployment for 14 months, and he sees his wife and newborn daughter for the first time in 14 months, and he is crying,” Begnaud said. “This is a reminder for me that every day when I take my kids to the ballpark; every day when I enjoy the life that I have, there are other men and women who aren’t home with their kids, who aren’t going to baseball games- that are not enjoying the freedoms and the things that we enjoy…Today we honor them and give thanks to them.”

After the prayer, Tooele City Mayor Debbie Winn welcomed those in attendance.

“We thank those who gave their lives for our freedom and for the protection of our country,” she said. “We also have a deep debt of gratitude for those serving today, continuing to protect our country.”

Eric Crocker, president of the Utah Elks Association and Tooele resident, introduced Col. Steven M. Dowgielewicz Jr., commander of the Tooele Army Depot, the guest speaker for the event.

Dowgielewicz addressed those in attendance by thanking those in attendance for remembering veterans who died serving their country, as well as veterans still living.

Dowgielewicz highlighted the affects small communities feel when they lose a local soldier.

“Small town USA is different and will always be,” he said. “While you might not have rows of chain department stores, when someone from the community sacrifices themselves for the freedom of others, everyone feels it. It is not just a name in the paper, but a daughter, friend, brother, or teammate. The community is impacted and the community remembers.”

Dowgielewicz continued on by reciting words from President Ronald Reagan: “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We did not pass it to our children in our blood stream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”

After this, the commander shared his “Grinch moment, ” referring to the line “the Grinch’s small heart grew three sizes that day.”

“Let me tell you about my Memorial Day Grinch moment,” he said. “Being a soldier being deployed and studying history, I knew what Memorial Day represented. It’s a day of national awareness and solemn reverence; a day to honor those who gave their lives in defense of the nation. I knew it was about the cost of freedom and how high that cost could be but I didn’t realize the true cost…It was not until one day many years ago I was walking in a building at the end of the day and I saw something. It was hung up on a bulletin board. It was just a simple piece of eight and a half by 11 sheet of paper that came out of a printer. It was a picture of a young woman and a boy kneeling on a grave at the Arlington Cemetery. It said something about Memorial Day being much more than just a day off for barbeques. I stood staring at that picture… I was a grown man with tears welling in his eyes. That was my grinch moment.”

After Dowgielewicz’ speech, Duncan once again took to the stage to sing “God Bless the U.S.A.”

The service ended with a 21-gun salute, taps, a closing prayer by Begnaud, and closing remarks by McCall.

 

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