This past Veterans Day marked the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, a war that claimed 116,516 American lives in Europe. According to the Division of State History, 24,000 men from the Beehive State enlisted, 864 were wounded and 665 died. Unlike today's conflicts, WWI was fought by men with only bullets, knives, artillery and horses. There were no drones, no night-vision goggles, no guided missiles. You were often looking your enemy in the eye and fighting hand-to-hand combat. Women served as nurses, but due to racism, only white women were allowed into the Army Nurse Corps. When the war, dubbed "The Great War," ended, Utah folk wanted to pay tribute to those who perished. Thus, we have quite a list of memorials throughout the state.Memory Grove on the east side of the Capitol was created just after the war ended when volunteers planted 300 trees as a living memorial to veterans. There's a marble structure surrounded by pillars that's come to be known as "The Pagoda" and was spearheaded by women and finished in 1932. At the Ogden Cemetery, there's a just-restored doughboy statue. "Doughboys" was the nickname given to members of the Army and Marine corps during WWI.
There are statues in Mount Pleasant, Brigham City, Springville's Victory Fountain, Vernal and Beaver, and one that was finished last year in Santa Clara. You might have noticed the Greek Veterans Memorial outside the Holy Trinity Cathedral downtown. A plaque lists the names of Greeks who died in WWI, WWII and the Korean War. Other war monuments are in American Fork, Antimony, Bear River, Beaver, Bicknell, Castle Date, Cedar City, Circleville, Copperton, Kearns, Leamington, Lehi, Loa, Magna, Midvale, Monticello, Morgan, Parowan, Price, Provo, Randolph, Taylorsville, Tooele, Vernal and West Jordan.
One of the state's most beautiful signs of respect and gratitude is in the Davis County Memorial Courthouse in Farmington. It's a gorgeous stained glass window in memory of Davis County Veterans who died in the Civil War (1865), the Spanish American War (1898), the Black Hawk War (1867) and the Philippine-American War (1902).
The most recent soldier to die is North Ogden Mayor, Maj. Brent Taylor, who was killed the first week in November in Afghanistan. The town held a vigil last week to remember him and grieve the loss of their hero.