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Draper unveils Gold Star Families Memorial Monument

May 18 2024
Alex Cabrero | KSL TV5

DRAPER — For as busy as life is these days, it is good to slow down and reflect every once in a while.

Darin Hoover does it as often as he can.

“Every second, every hour, every day,” he said. “They are always on my mind.”

Hoover’s son, Marine Staff Sgt. Taylor Hoover, is one of 13 service members killed during the American pullout in Afghanistan nearly three years ago.

That is why he was part of a service in Draper Saturday morning, where Gold Star families were honored during a ceremony.

“Thank you for the sacrifice of your children and your loved ones,” said Draper Mayor Troy Walker at the start of the ceremony.

For Hoover, these types of events are a way to help keep the memory of his son alive to the public.

“It gives an opportunity for a conversation to be had, that way they continue to live on,” said Hoover. “If it sparks a conversation, then that is great.”

The ceremony at Draper’s City Park featured a school choir, bagpipes, and even a helicopter flyover.

However, the biggest moment was when the memorial monument was revealed.

The monument was built by the Woody Williams Foundation, a nationwide organization that has similar Gold Star Families monuments in several states.

Seven of them are in Utah with a couple of them still in progress, according to the Foundation’s website.

These monuments are well known for the silhouette of a saluting service member at the center.

Honoring Families

It is meant to honor the families left behind.

“One of the hardest things that a parent goes through is to be notified that your son or your daughter is not coming home,” said Anthony Galvez while holding back tears during the ceremony.

Galvez’s son, Marine Cpl. Adam Galvez, was killed in Iraq in 2006. “We were notified with that famous on our door,” said Galvez while knocking on the wood of the podium he was speaking at.

Eighteen years later, he is proud Draper not only invited him and his family to this ceremony, but that other Gold Star Families were invited to remember those they lost.

“Sgt. Hayden Thomas Rabins,” said one woman at the podium before placing a yellow flower next to Rabin’s picture.

“Staff Sgt. Zachary Skylar Barton,” said another woman before doing the same.

“Staff Sgt. Taylor Hoover,” said Darin Hoover at the podium.

A bell was rung after each name was read.

“We live with this for all our life,” Galvez said. “Some days we wake up and can’t even think of getting out of bed and other days it’s not a problem.”

For those days where families just want to slow down and reflect, this Memorial gives them another place to do so.

“I usually go to the one in Sandy, but I will come here, too,” said Darin Hoover. “Mostly at night when there is less traffic noise and people. It is just a somber time to remember Taylor and all those that have gone before.”