Local residents gathered to honor those who served to protect our freedoms at the annual veteran’s recognition day celebration. The day started out with a flag ceremony carried out by Morgan County’s American Legion Post 67 and VFW Post 6154 which included Jim Nickerson, Karl Abbott, Jay Garfield, Gordon Smith, Vern Kilbourn, Royal Lamb, Tom Despain, Cliff Jenkins and Tim Carter. Following the ceremony, one veteran was allowed to participate in a fly-by in a Stearman Bi-Plane with pilot Doug Compton.
Lieutenant Colonel Jay Hess then spoke to the crowd. Hess is an Air Force pilot who grew up in Park City, Utah. He received his wings in 1955 from the Air Force Cadets program. Hess was a ground control intercept officer and flew the F89, F102, F104 and F105. Later in life he was a Jr. ROTC instructor. In August of 1967 he was sent to Vietnam and flew 33 and a half missions. He was shot down over North Vietnam and was captured. He spoke of his time in service of his nation and captivated the audience with the details of his incarceration in the Hanoi prison. He mentioned that mothers have approached him and asked him to tell his story because kids today don’t understand the price of freedom. Hess responds to those mothers saying, “Freedom is for those willing to defend it.” Following Hess’ remarks, there was a lunch served and a precision radio controlled bi-plane demonstration. Even the kids had fun playing on the model airplane one of the veterans built with working pedals and flaps.