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Draper Journal

Veteran and actor Vincent “Rocco” Vargas to speak at annual Draper Veterans Day ceremony

Nov 06, 2018 02:25PM ● By Jana Klopsch

Sgt. 1st Class Vincent “Rocco” Vargas will speak at this year’s Veterans Day Ceremony. (Photo courtesy Vincent “Rocco” Vargas)

By Katherine Weinstein | [email protected]

Draper City will present its annual Veteran’s Day Ceremony, Honoring All Who Served event on Friday, Nov. 9 at 11 a.m. near the willow tree in Draper Park. The ceremony is “a show of the community’s gratitude to all who have served or are serving,” said Draper Parks Events Coordinator David Wilks. It is a free event open to everyone.

The ceremony will begin with a performance of the national anthem by the Draper Elementary School Choir. Choir co-director Madison Ellingson said, “We are excited to be performing at the Draper Veterans Day Ceremony for the second year this year!” The choir will also sing “God Bless the USA” later in the program.

Participating in this event holds important lessons for the children. “We often talk about how special and respectful these songs are. We talk about why we put our hand over our heart for the national anthem and why ‘God Bless the USA’ makes so many people emotional. It is a great thing that we are able to be a part of in our wonderful community,” said Ellingson.

The Utah National Guard will provide a color guard. The color guard, comprised of servicemen and women in dress uniform will post both the flag of the United States and the Utah state flag. Many find this to be the most moving part of the ceremony.

This year’s keynote speaker is Sgt. 1st Class Vincent “Rocco” Vargas, a decorated Army Ranger, an Army Reserve drill sergeant and a former member of the Border Patrol.  Vargas was deployed three times to Iraq and Afghanistan with the 75th Ranger Regiment’s 2nd Battalion.  

A California native, Vargas recently moved to Herriman and opened a barber shop in downtown Salt Lake City. He also operates a number of social media businesses.

In addition to those business ventures and being a dedicated and passionate advocate for veterans, Vargas is also an actor. Currently he is co-starring in “Mayans M.C.,” which premiered in September on FX. The show, which is a spin-off of the “Sons of Anarchy” series, is a drama about the Mayans Motorcycle Club and their conflicts in a fictional California border town. As an actor, Vargas feels he is setting an example for other vets. 

Vargas speaks to veterans across the country. His message is that it’s OK to seek out help and counseling — whatever they need to ensure their health and success in civilian life.  

He also acknowledges that when one person serves their country, their whole family serves. “Veterans Day is as much in support of those who have served our country in peacetime and conflict, as it is for the families that sacrifice their time with spouses, brothers, sisters, fathers and mothers in support of our freedom,” said Vargas.

As the Draper Veterans Day Ceremony concludes, a bugler will play taps from on top of the hill near the willow tree in Draper Park. Refreshments will be served following the ceremony.  

In case of inclement weather, the event will be moved to the Draper North Park Pavilion. Draper Park is located at 12500 South 1300 East in Draper. For more information on the Veterans Day ceremony or to arrange special accommodations, please contact David Wilks at 801-576-6584.