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Opening Ceremony For Veterans Tribute Finds Purpose Amid Loss

Standing in front of a small crowd, lit by a smoke-tinged sunset, author and Gold Star spouse Brooke Jenkins Walters urged the audience to honor soldiers’ sacrifices by living life as fully as possible.

“Everybody has a story, I have a story, you have a story,” she said. “And the question really, that I would invite you to ask yourself, is what is it that you’re going to do with your story? How are you going to let your experience change you and affect you for the better? Because I’ve learned that no experience, no matter how ugly, difficult and crazy it is, is ever wasted.”


Her backdrop was a 360 ft.-long replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, currently in Cache Valley as a part of the traveling Cost of Freedom tribute honoring fallen service members in U.S. military conflicts. Read the rest of the story on


This story is made possible thanks to a community reporting partnership between The Herald Journal and Utah Public Radio.