Utahn Celebrates Family Service Members He Never Knew Existed
Memorial Day is a time to honor service members who sacrificed their lives. But for one man in Salt Lake City, this year was a chance to recognize family whose service he never knew about.
Lieutenant Joshua Hunt works at Fort Douglas in Salt Lake City and serves at Camp Williams in Riverton as a member of the Utah Army National Guard. He’s been in the military for 12 years and, until recently, he always thought of himself as a first generation service member.
"But the end of last year I found my long lost father and after finding him I found out that I actually followed in the footsteps of my grandfather and his two brothers who all served in the army in World War II, many of them right here at Fort Douglas where I work as well," Hunt said.
Hunt’s grandfather was a man named Nicholas Trail. With the help of the Utah Historical Society and an online genealogy program, Hunt pieced together an unknown branch of his family and tracked down the discharge paperwork for his grandfather and two great uncles.
At a Memorial Day service at Fort Douglas, they delivered the three men’s long-lost service awards to their families.
"So today, we got together the Honor Guard along with Governor Herbert and we did a ceremony in which we refolded three flags for their final honors and encased them along with their restored awards and related memorabilia," Hunt said.
Governor Herbert, who also served in the National Guard, spoke at the event. With Memorial Day marking the start of summer for many people, he stressed the importance of remembering America’s fallen soldiers.
"Let’s take time and pause and remember the sacrifice of men and women in uniform who’ve given the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of us as an American people," Herbert said.
For Lieutenant Hunt that meant reflecting on the service members in his family for the first time.