Carol O’Brien: Proud of Delaware County’s community spirit

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. I am proud to live in and serve the citizens of Delaware County.

I particularly love the sense of community spirit, and this year I am excited to be a part of it all in a very special way. I have been invited to be a guest speaker for the opening ceremony of the 2017 Delaware County Fair! It is truly an honor, and I’d like to welcome you to join me! The opening ceremony will begin at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 16. It will take place at the flagpole between the east end of the Junior Fair Building and the Sheriff’s Building.

The fair is a place to come together. It’s known, of course, for all the wonderful fair food. My husband starts with a corn dog, proceeds to French fries, and tops it all off with ice cream. I skip straight to the French fries!

While the food is a favorite, another activity I look forward to is the 4H junior fair sale. I’ve paid $200 for a cake, more for rabbits, and didn’t even come close to the top bid for a steer. It is such an amazing sight to see young boys and girls exhibiting their animals or baked goods for the first time. These exhibitors (between the ages of 8 and 18) have spent a tremendous amount of time raising their animals, searching for and taking the perfect picture, perfecting recipes, and meticulously growing flowers and vegetables, all in a quest for that blue ribbon or large bid at auction.

This year the auction will be Tuesday, Sept. 19 and Wednesday, Sept. 20. I encourage you to support these hard working students by stopping by and maybe taking the time to bid on a few items!

Another event I would encourage the citizens of Delaware County to attend is something near and dear to my heart. Delaware County is fortunate to be home to the Ohio Fallen Heroes Memorial on Cherry Street in Sunbury, Ohio. Every year since 2007, on the Saturday closest to Sept. 11, Gold Star families are invited to the Memorial for a ceremony honoring their loved ones who paid the ultimate price in the fight for freedom. This year the memorial ceremony will be held on Saturday, Sept. 9 at 4 p.m., rain or shine.

I have to tell you, this ceremony is truly one of the most moving I have ever attended. Maybe it’s because my husband and I have a personal connection to one of the Fallen Heroes honored at the Memorial. Or maybe it’s because I am ever so grateful that my son came home after two tours in Iraq, and I know he may be deployed again. Or maybe it’s because of the selflessness of the men and women who gave their all, and the anguish and loss felt by their families.

I remember when we were notified about the death of our young friend. I remember how his brother displayed the flag from his brother’s unit, and how every time we walked or drove by his apartment we saw the visible reminder of his loss — the combat boots and an inverted rifle with a helmet hanging on the rifle. Army lore indicates the helmet and identification tags signify the fallen soldier. The inverted rifle with bayonet signals a time for prayer and a break in the action to pay tribute to the fallen. The combat boots represent the final march of the last battle. To me, the display also represents a hole in the lives of loved ones left behind to mourn.

Please join me in honoring these selfless men and women on Saturday, Sept. 9 at the Fallen Heroes Memorial in Sunbury. It’s the least we can do.

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Carol O’Brien

Guest Columnist

Carol O’Brien is Delaware County Prosecutor.