Communities and residents across the Top of Utah paused from their normal routines Wednesday to honor and remember military veterans.
In Ogden, the 30-foot-tall, 13,000-pound Veterans Tribute Tower was dedicated at the George E. Wahlen Ogden Veterans Home.
"I wish George was here today, because he would have been standing here instead of me," Melba Wahlen said of her late husband. "But when I drove in here today and I saw his name, I was reminded not just of him, but of all the veterans who have served our country."
More than 500 people attended the ceremony. Active-duty military and veterans stood at attention around the tower as it was dedicated.
"We honor you not because war is glorious," Lt. Gov. Greg Bell said in his address to the crowd, "but because your service was glorious."
Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said the tower and the home itself should remind all those who pass by what veterans have done for the nation.
"There have been tremendous sacrifices made for us and for our right to freedom," he said. "And those sacrifices are right here in this home and in this tower."
The steel tower was trucked in from Cincinnati earlier this week and sits in front of the flagpoles at the entrance to the nursing home. A bronze bell chimes every hour and also plays patriotic music.
Other speakers at the dedication included Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, and Maj. Gen. Andrew Busch, commander of the Ogden Air Logistics Center.
In Layton, veterans of the past and present were acknowledged at a special program at Central Davis Junior High School.
Mayor Steve Curtis spoke about the importance of remembering both those who previously served and those who are currently serving.
Curtis' son, Riley Curtis, served in the Utah National Guard and returned home from a deployment to Iraq in 2008.
Busch spoke of the work current active-duty airman are doing at Hill Air Force Base.
"Hill is a very busy place. We continue to send our airmen out on deployments, and we continue to provide material solutions to those airmen in Iraq and Afghanistan."
Busch said a total of 2,800 Hill airmen served deployments in 2009. Through October of this year, 1,800 have been deployed.
Hill currently has more than 500 airmen deployed overseas, including about 400 who, as part of the 388th Fighter Wing's 4th Fighter Squadron, are serving a six-month deployment in Afghanistan.
The program also included remarks from representatives of the Utah National Guard and performances by the Layton-based musical group Trebleicious, the Utah National Guard's Honor Guard and singers from the middle school.
Riverdale Mayor Bruce Burrows made note of the chilly weather in his remarks at the dedication of his city's new veterans memorial.
"It's fitting that it's chilly and we're uncomfortable. Those who have served have done so in adverse conditions. They've been in situations most of us can't even imagine," he said.
An 8-foot-tall granite monument has stood in front of the civic center at 4600 S. Weber River Drive since May, but the two granite islands housing tiles with the names of veterans who have lived in the city was unveiled Wednesday.
People stood and stared, many snapped pictures of a loved one's name, and some shed tears.
Pat Parkinson came from Park City to see the name of his grandfather, who served in the Army during World War II and died in May 2007.
"It makes me really proud. I'm very emotional because I didn't realize how special he was when he was alive. I feel it more now. I didn't appreciate the sacrifices he made. He was a hero," he said.
Air Force Tech Sgt. Nathaniel Carlile recently returned from Iraq and said that the city has supported him in many ways.
"It's pretty cool," he said. "My grandfather died in World War II and is on the memorial in Heber. It's kind of weird that I'm a veteran.
"I was in Iraq when my wife said this would happen. The city of Riverdale has always taken care of the troops. They give us a break on utilities when we are overseas. It's a big relief that I don't have to worry about my family being taken care of and can concentrate on my job."
In Washington Terrace
In Washington Terrace, Suzanne Marcum was happy she could see the city's veterans honored at the 11th hour on Veteran's Day.
She remembers facing east at 11 a.m. each Veterans Day as a girl and thinks schoolchildren should continue that tradition.
Her husband, an Army veteran of World War II, was touched for a different reason.
"It means somebody is interested in what the veterans did," Orin Marcum said. After a long, emotional pause, he added, "It's a very great honor. It helps us realize our freedoms are not free."
Washington Terrace Lions Club President Adam Pfaff said the Lions Club donates to civic projects money made at concession stands at football and baseball games.
The club chose a veterans memorial because of the city's military ties.
Many of the city's original homes were converted after World War II from temporary military housing built for those who worked in government installations.
"From its very beginning, Washington Terrace was steeped in military history. This is a reminder of our great history," Pfaff said.
The 5-foot-tall granite memorial sits in front of the Civic-Senior Community Center at 4603 S. 300 West and displays the seals of the U.S. Army, Marines, Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard over the words "Land of the free, because of the brave."
Community United Methodist Church Pastor Diane Bell offered the dedicatory prayer while veterans and active-duty military personnel in attendance placed their hands on the memorial.
Glen Campbell, who served in the Air Force, said he rented one of the old barracks in the city "quite a few years ago" for $28 per month and was happy to see the Lions Club recognize the city's veterans and military history.
"I think it's great," he said, "It's a beautiful memorial."