Veteran's Day feature 07

U.S. Army veteran Mark McKell holds a memento from his time working with the U.S. Postal Service at his home Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2019, in Spanish Fork. Isaac Hale, Daily Herald

Today, countless organizations and local residents will be honoring and remembering our veterans here and around the country for Veterans Day.

According to our rough count, there are at least a half dozen programs taking place around Utah County this Veterans Day — from the Freedom Festival’s annual Veterans Day program with Provo city at 11 a.m. at Timpview High to a public celebration and keynote hosted by Utah Valley University’s Veterans Success Center & Veterans Day Committee at 7 p.m. in the university’s Ragan Theatre.

According to a Utah Department of Veterans and Military Affairs 2018 analysis, there are an estimated 150,082 veterans in Utah: 4,867 World War II veterans; 12,103 Korean War veterans; 44,751 Vietnam War veterans; 31,948 Cold War/Peacetime veterans; and 61,544 current conflict veterans.

Thousands live in Utah County and are our neighbors and friends, like 101-year-old World War II veteran Mark McKell, whom the Daily Herald had the opportunity to share a glimpse of his story in today’s paper.

Part of the state department’s objectives is to promote events throughout the state that build respect for those who serve — a noble goal and something each of us can help contribute to in our own cities, whether that’s by volunteering or attending a Veterans Day celebration.

For those that might have more time or resources, there are wonderful examples of veterans helping veterans and others in the community reaching out to lift them to success. Utah County now has its own local chapter of Warrior Rising, an organization seeking to empower veteran entrepreneurs. Racing Anxiety, founded by Tapley Mitchell, is a new organization in Utah Valley working to help veterans with mental illness and other injuries through auto racing. Both organizations are unique in their concept but their ultimate goal remains the same: honor and help our own local veterans succeed in life after service.

This holiday, there is more each of us can do to demonstrate our gratitude. Send a letter or message to someone you know who has served. Look where you can volunteer your time to a veteran organization that could utilize your skills, or simply be a friend.

Don’t let Veteran’s Day pass this year without doing at least one small act to remember the sacrifice our fellow Utahns make and have made for our country.