During a Veterans Day ceremony held Friday inside the Powell Municipal Building Council Chambers, World War II Navy veteran Craig Carmichael reminded a packed house that freedom comes at a price and should never be taken for granted.
“We must be prepared as a nation to defend our freedom because freedom is an elusive thing,” Carmichael said. “Peace is only possible when you prepare for war.”
The 94-year-old Powell resident said the very freedom he fought for back in the 1940s is constantly tested by foreign and domestic enemies, and he called upon all Americans to unite as one.
“In my lifetime, I have never seen this nation so divided as I see it today,” Carmichael said as tried to hold back his emotions. “It’s tragic. It’s dangerous.”
As for his time in the Armed Forces, Carmichael recalled the day Uncle Sam “tapped him to help win the war,” and he added, “As I look back on my life, I can’t believe that I’m standing here at this platform. The lord has blessed me.”
As he closes in on his 95th birthday, Carmichael recalled a day in February 1944 when his life flashed before his eyes while stationed in the Marshall Islands during WWII.
On that fateful day, he said, Japanese bombers struck out of nowhere, and during the chaos, Carmichael remembers pulling his helmet down over his ears.
“I was wishing that the helmet was big enough to get my whole body under it,” he said. “It was hell on wheels to say the least. Somehow, we lived through it.”
Mayor, state auditor address crowd
During his welcoming message to those who attended Powell’s annual Veterans Day ceremony, Mayor Brian Lorenz thanked all veterans and current members of the Armed Forces for their service to the country.
“Our gathering is just one small spark in the flame of pride that burns across the nation today and every day,” he said.
In his message to the crowd, State Auditor Dave Yost called the sacrifices veterans make a “noble act.”
“Every veteran has chosen to put America first, not merely in words, but by their actions,” he said. “May God look upon them with favor.”
As for honoring local veterans, Police Chief Gary Vest recognized the recent donation of three commemorative bricks that have been placed in the Greater Powell Veterans Memorial located in Village Green Park.
The bricks were donated in honor of John Gordon (Navy), Forrest Harry Rosenquist (Army), and all veterans (sponsored by Liberty baseball).
Patriotic music was provided by the Village Academy Vocal Ensemble, Village Academy Middle School Choir, and the Village Academy Middle School and Upper School Band.
Contact Joshua Keeran at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @KeeranGazette.