Rolly: WWII MIAs finally get their own flags

By paul rolly

The Salt Lake Tribune

Published: May 29, 2012 08:08PM
Updated: May 29, 2012 11:33PM
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Paul Rolly, Tribune columnist

They have been dead for more than 65 years and in most cases, their remains never were found.

But Patricia R. Smith, of Holladay, made sure this year that they wouldn’t be forgotten.

Pat and her husband, Bob, noticed about three years ago that with all the Memorial Day flags displayed around the Salt Lake Valley, none commemorated the nearly 300 Utahns missing in action in World War II who are honored with bricks bearing their names and ranks around the Beason Memorial Chapel in Memory Grove.

Their son Richard, named after Bob’s brother who was lost over the North Sea during the war, was able to amass about 80 flags that year to honor those missing soldiers. Richard died shortly afterward, then Bob lost his battle with cancer.

So Pat this year took it upon herself to make sure every one of those WWII vets had a flag by their memorial brick. She spent several hundred dollars to buy the flags from Memorial Flag and got permission from Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker’s office to place them at the memorial.

She was going to do it herself until a local Boy Scout troop heard of her plan and offered to place the flags.

Pat and some relatives then retrieved the flags Tuesday and will store them until next year, when they will repeat their tribute to the missing Utahns.

What does Webster know? • Utah’s conservative politicians have been working overtime lately to dispel the notion that we Americans live in a democracy (as in Democrat). It’s a republic (as in Republican), they remind us.

The Legislature even passed a law in 2011 requiring civics classes to teach that the United States is a republic.

Riverton Mayor Bill Applegarth took up the cause in the city’s monthly newsletter for May, noting: “We all understand the difference between a republic and a democracy.

“As you know, in a republic [the United States of America is a republic] the people elect individuals to make governmental decisions for the people.

“In a democracy, the people make the decision directly without any elected officials.”

But that’s not what Webster’s New World Dictionary says. It defines democracy as “a government in which the people hold the ruling power either directly or through elected representatives.”

Gee. Applegarth might need to get hold of those Webster folks and straighten them out.

Looks are deceiving? • Some environmental groups have criticized Gov. Gary Herbert for appointing Cody Stewart as his new energy adviser.

They claim that as a former lobbyist for fossil-fuel interests, his view will be slanted.

Stewart lunched recently with members of Healthy Environment Alliance of Utah.

After the lunch, Stewart drove off in his hybrid vehicle and the environmentalists drove off in their SUV.

Where credit is due • In Monday’s column, I ran a list of goofy answers purportedly given on tests by high school students. A Utah teacher who found it on a website sent it to me.

I thank Joanne Day, head of Centerville Junior High School’s English department, who pointed out to me Richard Lederer compiled those answers in his book, An Anthology of Accidental Assaults Upon Our Language.

prolly@sltrib.com