Those who attended this year’s Memorial Day ceremonies at Riverview Cemetery in Tremonton got their first glimpse of a new sculpture that will stand as a permanent reminder to all those who gave their lives in service of their country.
After the annual tradition was canceled last year because of the pandemic, the cemetery was once again filled with members of the community who turned out to honor the fallen and remember their sacrifices.
The centerpiece of this year’s event was a bronze sculpture incorporating stone and glass elements, featuring a bell hanging in the middle, and topped with a shining star commemorating the military men and women who died in the line of duty.
The recently completed sculpture had been shrouded until Monday’s program, “wrapped like a beautiful Christmas present,” said longtime local businessman and community icon Harry Gephart, who served as master of ceremonies.
The tall, stately looking sculpture is the creation of Doug Adams, a local artist who has created thousands of bronze sculptures for communities around Utah and beyond. It has been in the works for several months under the direction of the Tremonton Arts Council.
Dianne Adams, the wife of Doug, was on hand to explain the significance of the sculpture’s various features after members of the Box Elder County Combined Veterans removed the shroud and displayed the piece for the first time in public.
On the bell hanging in the center is a depiction of a tree — “a tree of life that represents everlasting life and life after death,” Dianne Adams said. “(Doug) felt that was an important thing to put on this piece.”
On top of the bell is a heart-shaped stone, which Adams said “represents all the hearts that have been broken for those who have lost loved ones, but also our love of country and our love of humanity.”
Above the heart are amber-glass features symbolizing “the amber fields of grain that are all around Box Elder County,” she said.
Topping the monument, which stands some 12 feet tall atop its concrete base in the center of the cemetery, is a five-pointed, multi-faceted star beckoning all visitors.
“The gold star itself represents the ultimate sacrifice of all those who have died in service — all the men and women who have given their lives for our country,” Adams said. “The last thing (Doug) wanted me to say was ‘let freedom ring.’”
Following the unveiling, complete with a 21-gun military salute, a wreath was laid at its base by Deborah Borgstrom Long, Jennifer Nelson and Roberta Fronk — descendants and relatives of the most well-known local casualties of war, the Borgstrom brothers. The four brothers from Thatcher all died within a six-month period while fighting for Allied forces in World War II.
The sculpture, and the star that adorns it, is built to last as a reminder for all who visit the cemetery from now on.
“It’s a beautiful, beautiful gold star, and it will remain here,” Gephart said.