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Ogden sunset service continues tradition of honoring fallen US service members

By Adam Rubin - Special to the Standard-Examiner | May 29, 2023
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The Denhalter family — from left, Daniel, Decklan and Joni — cleans the grave of Arthur Denhalter, who served in the Navy during World War II, while paying their respects during Myers Mortuary’s Memorial Day sunset service on Sunday, May 28, 2023.
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Veterans and attendees stand for the national anthem, performed by Vocalocity, at Evergreen Memorial Park in Ogden on Sunday, May 28, 2023.
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The Wasatch & District Pipe Band performs Sunday, May 28, 2023, during Myers Mortuary's Memorial Day sunset service at Evergreen Memorial Park in Ogden.
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From left, Shaun Myers, Steven Carter, Paul Kapp and Brandon Myers pose for a photo at the Evergreen Memorial Park in Ogden on Sunday, May 28, 2023, at the conclusion of Myers Mortuary's Memorial Day sunset service.

OGDEN — Community members showed up Sunday to pay their respects and to celebrate the Memorial Day weekend with patriotic pride and reflection during Myers Mortuary’s annual Memorial Day sunset services at Evergreen Memorial Park.

Since 1987, Myers Mortuary has been hosting multiday community Memorial Day commemorations, culminating each year with the sunset services, which are held in the evening. Attendees came out to honor and remember those who have passed — particularly those who died in service to the county in a military capacity.

This year’s program featured musical performances by the a cappella group Vocalocity singing the national anthem, the Wasatch & District Pipe Band, the Veterans’ Brass Quartet and Mount Ogden Brass. Myers’ annual Humanitarian Award was granted to Cliff Goff, and military honors were presented by the Combined Veterans Honor Guard.

Eric Evenhuis, who has been playing the bagpipes for 18 years and performed for the first time at Myers’ sunset service this year with the Wasatch & District Pipe Band, said the turnout was amazing.

“This is as big of a crowd that I have played for on Memorial Day in years; we had close to 100-150 people,” he said. “We talk about it all year long, about saluting the military, but I think Memorial Day gets lost in the shuffle of, ‘Let’s have a barbecue, or let’s go camping,’ instead of, ‘Let’s take that one day per year and remember those who fell and gave their lives for this country.'”

Some come out not for the event itself but just to listen to the music and spend time honoring their loved ones.

Others consider the sunset service to be a family tradition. Among them are Daniel Denhalter; his wife, Joni; and their son, Decklan, who come to visit and pay respects to Daniel’s grandfather, Arthur Denhalter, who served in the Navy during World War II.

For Decklan Denhalter, the day was an opportunity to show his respects to his great-grandfather. “My middle name is my great-grandfather’s first name, and that makes me feel pride,” he said.

Joni Denhalter said one of her favorite aspects of taking time to come to visit and pay respects during the event is just telling stories with family about those who are no longer with them as a way of keeping their memory alive within their family.

“We have been coming here for 17 years each Memorial Day. We clean the grave of my grandfather,” Daniel Denhalter said. “We enjoy the music and the program, but it’s more than that to us as a family. It has become a tradition.”

Paul Kapp, who participated Sunday as part of both Mount Ogden Brass and the Combined Veterans Honor Guard, has been playing his roles at Myers’ sunset service for about 10 years.

Kapp also was impressed by the turnout and said he feels blessed to be involved with this community event.

“It is a great event for anybody who comes here, and I know that it is a busy weekend with families getting together and whatnot,” he said. “But for those who want a program of this nature to pay respect and remembrance and to contemplate our past, this is a perfect venue for that to happen.”


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