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Women Of The Military To Be Honored

Oct 30, 2014 09:38AM ● Published by Tom Haraldsen

Gallery: Veterans Day in Taylorsville [17 Images] Click any image to expand.

For the sixth consecutive year, Taylorsville City will have the honor of hosting the state’s official Veterans Day parade on Tuesday, Nov. 11. The parade and subsequent ceremony will begin at 11 a.m. at city hall, 2600 West Taylorsville Blvd.

This year’s theme is “Women of the Military,” with two veterans serving as Grand Marshals for the parade. Valentina Paddock, USMC, and Jill Atwood, U.S. Army, will also participate in the program in front of city hall following the parade.

Valentine Paddock served for just under three years in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1953-55, during the Korean War. 

“I was living in San Francisco, and right after I got out of high school, I wanted to start my own life. So I enlisted in the Marines,” she said.  She was attracted to the Marines because of a newsreel film which showed before a motion picture in her theatre. That was a common practice in the 40s, 50s, 60s and early 70s. She spent five days riding a train across the country to Paris Island, South Carolina, where her basic training began.

“That was quite an experience for a 19-year-old,” she said. 

She’s very proud of the time she spent in the Marines, and she’s subsequently had two sons, a daughter, a grandson and a granddaughter who’ve served in the military.

“I’m very proud of my family,” she said. “And being asked to be part of the Veterans Day parade is very exciting.” She has lived in Taylorsville for 31 years.

Jill Atwood joined the Army National Guard at the age of 17 in her hometown of Phoenix. She completed air traffic control training, and, in January 1991, was activated as part of Operation Desert Storm and sent to Saudi Arabia. There, she worked with those from three units at the refueling point before aircraft flew into Kuwait. After spending seven years in the guard, she worked as a news reporter and anchor for KSL-TV in Salt Lake City. She is now Chief Communications Officer for the VA SLC Health Care System.

“I’m extremely honored and humbled to be part of the parade and this ceremony,” she said. “Anything we can do to get the word out about the VA system is something we look forward to.”

Before the ceremonies that day, however, the Flags of Honor Memorial will once again be presented on the lawn south of the city center. Sponsored by Memorial Estates, it will be on display from Nov. 7 through Nov. 12.

“The Flags of Honor represents a silent, patriotic, moving and emotional reminder of the cost of war,” said Patricia Kimbrough, executive assistant and veterans committee chair for Taylorsville City. “Each flag represents a fallen Utah hero. The flags have tags attached to them with information about the military personnel killed in combat.”

This Flag of Honor tribute is always among the most popular and moving aspects of the Veterans Day event. The outline for the program is as follows:
Welcome from Mayor Larry Johnson
Invocation—Alan Rindlisbacher
Flag Ceremony—Taylorsville High School ROTC
Pledge of Allegiance
National Anthem—Sara McDonald
Keynote Speaker: Senator Orrin Hatch
Patriotic Medley: America the Beautiful—Natasha Mae Gallegos
Native American Flute—LeeRoy Arellano (Vietnam Veteran)
Introduction of Grand Marshals: Valentina Paddock, USMC
Jill Atwood, U.S. Army
Poster and Essay Winners
SHEROES United Organization
As always, the public is invited and encouraged to attend this always memorable event.        
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