Veterans Day is Nov. 11. The Delaware County Board of Commissioners will rededicate the newly restored Delaware County Veterans Memorial outside the Delaware County Historic Courthouse.
Existing war monuments have been placed in their new locations and military service flag poles have been added. The ceremony will begin at 11 a.m. Nov. 11. Veterans and the public are invited and encouraged to attend the ceremony. The event will last approximately 30 to 45 minutes.
North Sandusky Street in front of the historic courthouse and Court Street will be closed to traffic. This will allow for safety and social distancing. Chairs will be provided by the county. You may also bring your own chair, if you would like. A sound system will be setup to insure attendees can easily hear.
The ceremony will be a unique event due to changes that have occurred this year due to the pandemic. The original plan was to hold the rededication on Memorial Day. Due to various delays, the restructure was not complete in time. Rather than wait until next year, the Delaware County commissioners decided to rededicate on Veterans Day, which will be the main focus of the ceremony. In essence, the ceremony will be a mix of the two military honoring holidays.
We would like to have participation from family members whose loved ones are on the monuments. Wreaths will be placed at the memorial. Those family members will place them or assist with placing them. If you wish to participate, please contact Brian Galligher, Delaware County Veterans Services administrator, at 740-833-2010.
We would also like to have participation of veterans from each of the different military branches. We would like veterans to assist with raising the flag of the branch in which they served. Two or three veterans to raise each service flag would be nice to have. We would also like to have former POWs to raise the POW/MIA flag. If you would like to participate, please contact Galligher.
The ceremony will begin with opening remarks from the Delaware County commissioners. The Delaware County Air Force Junior ROTC will raise the American Flag while “To the Colors” is played on a bugle. Once the American Flag is raised, the National Anthem will be sung and led by Mary Fran Cassidy. The Pledge of Allegiance will be recited. The public is encouraged to participate in both the singing and the pledge. The State of Ohio flag will then be raised followed by an opening prayer.
Outstanding Veteran of the Year Award will be presented. This is an annual award that’s usually presented at the Veterans Breakfast. Unfortunately, that event is not taking place this year. Veterans recommended for the award are submitted by individuals to the veterans services commissioners. The veterans services commissioners review the recommendations with the reasons for submittal and vote on who they believe deserves the award. Outstanding Friend of Veteran of the Year will also be presented. The Friend of Veteran award adheres to the same criteria as Outstanding Veteran. The awards will be presented by the Delaware County commissioners.
I will be presenting the history of Veterans Day.
Veterans Day was originally called Armistice Day, to commemorate the end of World War I. Veterans Day is a day to honor those that served in the military at any time, whether they are still alive or dead. It is mainly intended to thank living veterans for their service and sacrifices. It is a federal holiday, so government offices and banks will be closed.
A history of the monuments will be presented by Galligher. Currently there are five monuments at this location. The monuments honor veterans and those killed in action from Delaware County.
The large monument with the civil war soldier statue is in honor of all veterans that served in the Civil War. On the front of the base there is a cast copper plaque that depicts a pioneer family with a ribbon banner above them. The banner reads: “Their heroic valor ensured our lasting peace.” On the back side of the base is a cast plaque that reads: “In memory of the soldiers and sailors of Delaware County Ohio, who served in the War of 1861 to 1865.
The World War I monument is engraved with: “Dedicated to the WWI veterans 1914-1918.” There is a cast bronze plaque that lists the Delaware County residents that were killed in battle. There are 53 names on the list.
The World War II monument is engraved with: “Dedicaed to the men and women who served their country in WWII 1941-1945. Engraved on the monument is a list of Delaware County residents that were killed in battle. There are 67 names in the list. There is another line engraved that is split by the list, it reads: “In honored memory of our heroes who gave their lives.”
There is a monument that is a combination of Korea and Vietnam. Engraved on the monument is: “Dedicated to the Korea and Vietnam veterans.” There are two lists of Delaware County residents engraved on the monument, which were killed in battle. The Korea list and Vietnam list each contain 10 names.
There is a monument honors those that served in Afghanistan, Iraq and other areas of the Middle East, known as Desert Storm and Operation Forever Freedom. Engraved on the monument is: “In memory of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice and those who are still fighting to keep us free.” There are four Delaware County residents engraved on the monument, which were killed in action.
The military service flags along with the POW/MIA flag will be raised for the memorial rededication. Delaware County commissioners will conduct the ceremony. Wreaths will be laid around the base of the Civil War monument. Family members of KIAs that are listed on the monuments, along with the Delaware County commissioners, will lay the wreaths. The wreath laying will be escorted by the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 1095 Honor Guard. There are four, 3-foot wide wreaths that will be placed. The wreaths were donated by the Snyder-Rodman Funeral Home of Delaware.
Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 1095 Honor Guard will fire a three-shot rifle volley. This is often mistaken for a 21-gun salute. Because of the nature of and reason for this event, “Taps” will not be played.
Delaware County commissioners will have closing remarks. The Delaware County Historic Courthouse may be open for tours. Inside restrooms will be available for use at the Delaware County Commissioner’s Office.
Come to the event and help honor all veterans and celebrate their service to our country. Every individual who has ever served in the United States military has taken the following oath:
“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; … So help me God.”
With this oath, there was no expiration date. Many veterans take this oath as seriously as the day they enlisted. We all served to keep our freedoms and preserve our rights of this great country.
Next week’s Veterans Corner column will cover the history of Veterans Day. It will not only cover the establishment of Armistice Day, but also changes that have occurred to Veterans Day over the years.
Harold B. Wolford is president of the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 1095. He served in the United States Army from 1970 to 1973. Wolford can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.