Flags for WWII Veterans

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L to R: Art Richardson, Harley and Weselee Berge, Willy Rivera, a member of the Patriot Guard, Travis Berge, Ryan Devenish, and Robert, Pagnani, the principle group presenting the flags. Photo: Ed Helmick

There are only 26 veterans from the battles of World War II in residence at the Bennion Central Utah Veterans Home. These are folks who were in their late teens and early 20’s in 1941 and the following 4 years. They are the survivors of a world at war 73 years ago. They served in the US Army, including the Army Air Corps, the US Navy and the US Marines. Each is an incredible person with a fascinating history to tell. On the Saturday before Christmas, each of the 26 veterans were honored with a special handcrafted American Flag and letter from a local student.

 

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Handmade flag given to WWII Veterans.
Photo: Ed Helmick

The flags, which were assembled from stained wood and include the Pledge of Allegiance on the stripes of the flag, were created by a more recent veteran, Willy Rivera. The cost of making these 26 beautiful flags was about $50 each or $1,300 for all the flags. The money for this project was raised through efforts of the Utah Elks Veterans Committee who are thankful to the many wonderful people who made donations.

 

The flags arrived at the Payson Veterans Home at 11 a.m. escorted by the Patriot Guard Riders of Utah. It was decided that each flag and student note would be presented individually to each of the 24 men and two women veterans of WWII. What a wonderful experience to witness the presentation of these special American Flags along with the reading of the student letter. It took four hours to present the flag to the each of the senior veterans at the Payson Veterans Home. The dedicated volunteers and all those that donated money did a good deed and were appreciated by those who served our nation in World War II.

While the flags were being distributed one of the residents passed away. It was not one of the WWII veterans. Our group was privileged to stand against the hallway walls of the residential unit as an aide pushed a wheelchair with a veteran with a bugle playing Taps followed by a Flag draped gurney. This is a tradition that started at the Payson Veterans Home and has been implemented in veteran’s facilities.