Standing in a section of Tremonton’s Riverview Cemetery are four standard military-issue headstones, their unassuming stature belying the staggering sacrifice of one local family.
The cemetery is the final resting place of Clyde, Leroy, Rolon and Rulon Borgstrom, four brothers from Thatcher who died within six months of each other in 1944 while serving their country during World War II.
The plight of the sons of Alben and Gunda Borgstrom is well documented, having been echoed in the Oscar-winning 1998 film “Saving Private Ryan.” A memorial dedicated to military veterans at Midland Square in 2001 features them prominently with bronze plaques dedicated to each brother, and an Army Reserve center in Ogden bears their surname. A permanent display on the upper floor of the Bear River Valley Museum gives visitors a glimpse into the remarkable impact their lives and deaths had on a family, community and nation.
Despite all of these tributes, the actual burial site of the Borgstrom brothers has remained humble and relatively unnoticed through the years. But 75 years after the brothers’ passing, a coalition of local leaders is working to change that.
Bear River Valley Museum, Tremonton City, and the local Veterans of Foreign Wars post are joining forces to create a special monument at the gravesite.
The plan is to create a large stone slab, place the existing markers within it, and replace it at the hallowed site with a plaque informing visitors of the gravity of where they stand.
Karen Stokes, president of the Bear River Valley Museum board of directors, said visitors who come to the museum frequently ask where the Borgstroms are buried. The new monument, she said, will help people find it more easily and pay their respects, thereby helping to preserve the story.
“We felt like they needed more than just those four markers in the ground,” Stokes said. “People have been talking about it for years, and now it’s happening. It’s going to be nice.”
She said the plan is to have the monument in place by Memorial Day 2020.
When the four brothers’ bodies were returned home, their parents initially wanted them to be buried in Thatcher, but reached an agreement with Tremonton to have them buried where they are today. Their memorial service, held in Garland, was a huge event, with the governor of Utah and president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints among those in attendance.
With the brothers resting in Tremonton, the city is getting involved with the effort as well. Tremonton City Councilwoman Diana Doutre, who works on cemetery-related issues, said the city has funding set aside for veterans, and she is working with city staff to secure some of that funding to pay for the project.
“I think it’s something we’re going to be able to do, just to honor that special family,” Doutre said.