Communities all around the country observed Memorial Day in a variety of ways. In Kanab, American Legion Post 69 conducted its annual Memorial Day program at the Kanab City Cemetery, under the direction of Commander John Clark. The prayer was given by Bishop McKay Chamberlain and a stirring rendition of the National Anthem was sung by Mariah Wheeler.

John Clark welcomed everyone and recognized Veterans in attendance, including one from WWII. The featured speaker was Bruce Davis, who spoke of those missing in action, and shared statistics from WWI to Iraq and Afghanistan. He gave an excellent tribute to our Veterans, both fallen and living, and encouraged all Americans to give thanks to our Veterans for their sacrifice fighting for peace around the world.

Clark gave a special tribute to the Prisoners of War and those Missing in Action. He pointed out that there are 438 Utahns missing from WWII, with a total of 73,159 total Americans missing from WWII. He gave some background on the POW-MIA flag, and then called attention to a small table which occupied a place of dignity and honor near the podium. It was set for one, symbolizing the fact that members of our Armed Forces are missing from our ranks.

They are referred to as POW’s and MIA’s. We call them comrades. They are unable to be with their loved ones and families on this day, so we join together to pay our humble tributes to them, and bear witness to their continued absence. This table, set for one, is small, symbolizing the frailty of one prisoner, alone against his or her suppressors. The tablecloth is white, symbolic of the purity of their intentions to respond to their country’s call to arms. The single red rose in the vase signifies the blood that has been shed in sacrifice to ensure the freedom of our beloved United States of America. This rose also represents the families and friends of our missing comrades who keep the faith, while awaiting the return of their loved ones. The yellow ribbon on the vase represents the yellow ribbon worn on the lapels of thousands who demand with unyielding determination a proper accounting of our comrades who are not among us today. A slice of lemon on the plate reminds us of their bitter fate. The salt sprinkled on the plate reminds us of the countless fallen tears of families as they wait. The glass is inverted – they cannot toast with us today. The chair is empty – for they are not here. The candle is reminiscent of the light of hope which lives in our hearts to illuminate their way home, away from their captors, to the open arms of a grateful nation.

The Canyon Singers sang “God Bless America” and “Let There Be Peace.” The audience then joined the choir, singing “America the Beautiful.” Clark read the poem “Forever Home” and Post 69 performed a 21 Gun Salute and Taps. The program ended with the raising of the cemetery flag to full staff. Thank you Veterans and God Bless America.