St George - Utah

Breakfast in St George

This is another of my travel hubs and as usual it was a fly-drive holiday with only the first and last nights accommodation booked. What follows is from the perspective of an ordinary family of tourists on holiday, I hope that you will enjoy your virtual trip to St George in Utah with me.

We flew into Las Vegas at around 4pm on Monday March 17th the year was 2003 we booked into our motel had a meal and a stroll round the Vegas strip now we felt like we had begun our holiday in the USA. As normal on our first day in the USA we all awoke very early because of the time difference between the States and the UK. Because none of us could get back to sleep we got up and dressed then left our motel at around 5am and set off heading vaguely towards Bryce Canyon.

After being on the road for about three hours we decided to stop off somewhere to have some breakfast, that somewhere turned out to be St George in Utah. It was around eight o’clock in the morning on Tuesday the 18th of March when we pulled into a restaurant on North River Road.

As we were eating we glanced out of the restaurant window and we could see people beginning to line the road in front of the restaurant. We had no idea what was going on and we then saw on the far corner of the crossroads a TV crew was setting up its camera.

Sadness Pride and Patriotism

By this time we knew something was about to happen so I went out to the roadside where now I could see little clusters of people beginning to gather some carrying flags and others placards. There was a definite buzz in the air and you could tell that something important was about to happen and we were going to be fortunate enough to witness this event.

We didn’t have too long to wait the people of St George had turned out to give their young troops in the National Guard 222 Field Artillery a big St George send off. The National Guard 222 Field Artillery was being deployed to training prior to going off to fight in the Gulf.

I could see family groups, mums and dads brothers and sisters, along with friends standing patiently waiting for the buses that were carrying off their loved ones to the training camps before they were sent off to war.

There was a mixture of sadness, pride and patriotism, mums fighting back the tears trying to put a brave face on so that their tears would not upset their soldier sons and daughters. I could identify a little with these families as my son at that time was in the RAF and I know that I would have been going through the same sort of emotional roller coaster as these families were experiencing.

St George seemed to me that day to be a very supportive loving community, just about every local government vehicles had turned out to escort the buses carrying the young troops.

The Police Cars Led the Procession

Police cars led the procession with their blue lights flashing the sirens blaring and their car horns honking in salute and tribute to the young warriors.

Next came the Sheriff with his lights flashing and siren blaring the noise heightened the emotions of all around and the gathering crowds began to cheer and clap as these vehicles passed by.

Lights Flashing Sirens Blaring

Then came the fire department vehicles, the small red cars of the fire service along with what must have been all the large fire engines of St George. I could not image that there was a single vehicle left belonging to the fire service in St George that was not present on this special parade. All the lights were flashing and the deep bass sound of the fire truck’s sirens made your body vibrate as they passed by within feet of you.

Gestures of support

By now tears were flowing freely from the eyes of many in the watching crowd, mine included, it was very hard not to be moved by this show of love and support from the community for its troops.

Next followed a small fleet of lime green vehicles and I cannot remember what these vehicles were, they may have been forestry or road maintenance vehicles but what ever they were they were there to support their young troops and to give them a huge send off. They made their presence known just as the others had done by flashing all their lights and sounding their horns which you could plainly seen the waiting crowds really appreciated these gestures.

What every one was waiting for

Closely following these vehicles came more police cars and pairs of police motorcyclists again with every light flashing and every horn and siren blaring out its salute. No doubt some of the young troops had been members of some of these services themselves before they were called up to be deployed.

Then at last came the vehicles that everyone was waiting for the buses that were carrying the members of the National Guard 222 Field Artillery. The buses drove slowly passed families and friends who all waved and cheered as loudly as they could. Some held high the American flag, some held placards with personal messages for the soldiers on the buses.

All over too soon

The TV crew on the corner were busy recording this heart felt send off, no doubt it would all be played out on the local news that night. As they passed by I wondered how long it would be before these young people would be back home safe and sound with their part played so that they and their families could take up the reins of their normal lives once again.

The final vehicle in the send off escort was a St George Sheriff’s car, and as suddenly as it started the parade finished, it was all over too soon. Only minutes after the film crew had packed up and gone, the crowds had disappeared and no one would have known that North River Road had played a part in a moving tribute and send off for the National Guard 222 Field Artillery.

We climbed into our car and headed for the highway and Cedar City and as we passed along the highway many of the bridges had the American flag and banners draped from them wishing the soldiers God speed and good luck

Again we had found that some of the most momentous and memorable experiences on our holiday were not the planned ones but the ones which we came upon by chance. This emotional community send off in St George was certainly one of these serendipitous experiences that will long remain in my memory.

St George has much to offer

The city of St George has much to offer the tourist; it has museums, water parks, golf all the year round, lots of outdoor pursuit amenities and the first Mormon Temple to be completed in the West. The Temple is part of the city’s historical tour.

The Temple was dedicated in 1877 and it cost the staggering amount of $800,000 it stands today as a testament to the quality of the workmanship of those early Mormon settlers and all their hard work. It was a pity that we didn’t have more time to spare to explore this delightful city, with its caring friendly people.

We only stopped for breakfast and we got far more than that, but I think we didn't even scratch the surface of what St George has to offer.

The next time we are passing by this way I think we will give this place a little more of our time and I think that it will prove to be time well spent.

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Comments 30 comments

Ann Nonymous profile image

Ann Nonymous 6 years ago from Virginia

I felt like I was right there, maggs. Yes, a very special day in St. George Utah....

maggs224 profile image

maggs224 6 years ago from Sunny Spain Author

Hi Ann thanks for your comments; it is encouraging when people feel the same about something as you do, glad that you could be there with me even if it is only virtually. It is strange what doors are opened up to us when we go on holiday most of our extraordinary experiences on holiday were not the ones we had planned but those that we came into by being in the right place at the right time.

RNMSN profile image

RNMSN 6 years ago from Tucson, Az

wonderful writing Maggie///

made me cry...

I was, just as Ann said "right there" with you...

great article!!

love to you!!!

Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

Thank you for a wonderful written hub. I enjloyed it so much.

maggs224 profile image

maggs224 6 years ago from Sunny Spain Author

Hi Barbara, I am glad that you could be there with us, it was a very moving experience and one we felt privileged to be able to share in. lots of love to you too.

maggs224 profile image

maggs224 6 years ago from Sunny Spain Author

Hi Hello, I am glad you came and shared this experience with us, thank you for your kind comments.

50 Caliber profile image

50 Caliber 6 years ago from Arizona

Maggs224, what a great little hub. The send offs given the troops these days is a far cry from what it was in mine and I'm glad to see and hear of it every time it happens.

Saint George is a nice little town and driving on north you can hit Zion National Park and I hope you at least made the drive through it is as beautiful as your story, and I wish all could see it as it holds some magnificent views and a tunnel cut through rock that is pretty long, I don't remember how long but it is impressive, as it has viewing windows cut out that if you don't mind dodging a little traffic you can walk into the tunnel and take a look out.

Thanks for stirring the old memory bank again!

maggs224 profile image

maggs224 6 years ago from Sunny Spain Author

Sadly 50 Caliber, the sense of community doesn't seem to be as strong these days that is why when we come across things like this where the community turns out to support its son's and daughters is so special

DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

DeBorrah K. Ogans 6 years ago

Maggs224, Wonderful hub! There is something so touching about loyalty! St. George seems like a place with great old fashion values and terrifc places to see! Thank you for sharing, Blessings!

maggs224 profile image

maggs224 6 years ago from Sunny Spain Author

hi DeBorrah, as always it is a real pleasure to see your name anywhere on hubpages but especially so in my comments, your kindness to me and others is always a welcome blessing and you are so right there is something so touching about loyalty.

marijanareynders profile image

marijanareynders 6 years ago from Toodyay, Western Australia

I have never been to Utah but it felt as if I was with you in St George, watching the procession. Wonderful descriptive writing maggs224. Hope to read all your hubs soon ...

maggs224 profile image

maggs224 6 years ago from Sunny Spain Author

Hi marijana I am glad that you enjoyed your virtual trip to Utah, I enjoyed my little stroll around your farm and meeting the sheep.

RGraf profile image

RGraf 6 years ago from Wisconsin

Wonderful piece! My eyes are flowing, too.

maggs224 profile image

maggs224 6 years ago from Sunny Spain Author

@ RGraf, thank you for your encouraging comments, I am glad that you got to share in our unexpected experience in St George.

Tom Cornett profile image

Tom Cornett 6 years ago from Ohio

Nice hub I want to visit Utah. Finely written too..if I may add. :)

maggs224 profile image

maggs224 6 years ago from Sunny Spain Author

Wow Tom, to get a finely written off you mean so much to me, I value your opinion as you are in my humble opinion one of the best writers here on Hubpages.

TamCor profile image

TamCor 6 years ago from Ohio

maggs! So good to see you on here--somehow I have kept missing you...

What a wonderful hub, and a wonderful tribute to St. George. I loved the way you wrote this, almost as if you were standing right beside me, explaining it all!

Do you come to the US often? I love reading your hubs about your visits! :)


maggs224 profile image

maggs224 6 years ago from Sunny Spain Author

Hi Tammy, before we moved to Spain we would visit the USA about once a year sometimes twice, it was relatively cheap and easy to get a direct flight from most of the big airports in the UK. Living in Spain has changed that quite a bit, our return home flight from Dulles (Washington) was from Dulles to Frankfurt, (7 hours layover here) from Frankfurt to Barcelona (we could have driven home from Barcelona in less time than it took us to fly on from here), from Barcelona to Madrid, from Madrid to Valencia. It took us twenty-seven hours to get from Dulles to home. Add to that the drop in the value of the £ against the Euro, which has effectively knocked a third off our monthly income, this trip was our first since we went in June 2003. When the £ picks up again when the Bar starts making money instead of losing it, who knows we might just go back to having our holidays in the good old USA once again. Lol. Come to think of it this is the first holiday we have had since we moved to Spain in June 2004.

Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 6 years ago from California Gold Country

This is, now doubt, a scene that has been repeated in many small towns across the USA. It is especially intense in those places where all the people have a connection, and the fire departments are usually mostly volunteers.

I enjoyed your telling of the story.

maggs224 profile image

maggs224 6 years ago from Sunny Spain Author

Thanks Rochelle I am glad that you enjoyed the hub, I am sure you are right that the places where everyone knows everyone will have this scene played out all the more intensely because of it.

paulgc 6 years ago

Great article Maggs224, i do like your travel hubs and this one is especially good. Great photographs.

maggs224 profile image

maggs224 6 years ago from Sunny Spain Author

Glad that you enjoyed the Hub Paul, and a 'Great photographs' from you means a lot to me, thanks so much.

Lamme profile image

Lamme 6 years ago

Great hub, great pics and great writing. Thanks for a very enjoyable article.

maggs224 profile image

maggs224 6 years ago from Sunny Spain Author

Hi Lamme, thank you so much for leaving a comment, I am glad that you enjoyed the hub and the photos.

dannywoodpx profile image

dannywoodpx 6 years ago from Portugal

st George looks nice...

maggs224 profile image

maggs224 6 years ago from Sunny Spain Author

It was nice and this was a special day for them and for us.

Candie V profile image

Candie V 5 years ago from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure!

I agree with TamCor! Great hub on St. George Utah! I love communities that pull together and support their own so wonderfully!

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

What a momentous occasion that you just happened to be in the right place at the right time to see. Heart warming to be sure!

maggs224 profile image

maggs224 5 years ago from Sunny Spain Author

Hi Candie thanks for your comments and for the editorial help both very much appreciated you are a real friend :D

maggs224 profile image

maggs224 5 years ago from Sunny Spain Author

Hi Peggy, My hubby and my son have both spent time in the military so I think that made it all the more special and I could identify somewhat with all that was going on.

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