Station Park and local non-profit Operation Hero, will present a stunning, drive-through Memorial Day display May 23-25, with more than 50 American flags and 281 yard signs that will honor Utah service members who have passed away while in service, since September 11, 2001.
The signs, bearing a hero’s name, rank, military branch, angel date and a picture, will be displayed along with the flags throughout Station Park so families can drive or walk by together and honor them.
Operation Hero, a charity that serves military families who have lost a service member on duty, was founded by Antionette Stapley in honor of her late husband—US Army First Sergeant Tracy Stapley, who lost his life on July 3, 2013 during his deployment in Qatar. The organization’s mission is to continue Sergeant Stapley's legacy of giving back, by honoring Utah’s fallen soldiers and providing education to help prepare current service members and spouses “for the unexpected” loss.
For the past three years, Station Park had provided a venue for Operation Hero’s, Utah’s Service Members Honor and Remember Boot Display, to remind the public of the sacrifices military personnel and their families make for our country every day. But due to the COVI-19 pandemic this public gathering was canceled for 2020.
“We were sad that we couldn’t honor our fallen heroes with the boot display again this year,” said Stapley. “But we’ve found another beautiful way throughout the property to help the community remember and celebrate those brave men, women and families who have sacrificed for our freedom.”
David Anderson, Station Park general manager, said, “We’re honored to once again work with Operation Hero to provide an opportunity for families to remember the real meaning of Memorial Day. We hope that the public will take the time out of their Memorial Day weekend to visit Station Park and see the signs and flags that honor many of the Utahns who have made the ultimate sacrifice.”
“Military families hope they never get a ‘knock on the door” telling of the loss of a loved one,” added Stapley. “But if they do, they need to be better prepared than I was.” Even though her husband, Tracy, had been in the military for 26 years and had filed all the paperwork needed for his family to receive casualty assistance, she had no idea where it was when he died. That is why Stapley, on behalf of Operation Hero, speaks to groups of enlisted men and women and their spouses about what they need to do to “prepare for the unexpected.”