The Van Wert County Courthouse

Monday, Feb. 26, 2024

Local veterans groups honor the fallen

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

Local soldiers Seth and Brock Blackmore place the wreath honoring those who gave their lives while in the military during a Memorial Day ceremony held at Woodland Cemetery on Monday. (photos by Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

Local veterans groups and local residents didn’t let the heat deter them as they turned out Monday to honor members of the military who gave their lives in service of their country.

In Van Wert, veterans gathered for the traditional Memorial Day ceremony held at Woodland Cemetery. “We’re here to honor the fallen heroes and also all the people who served to keep us free for our country,” said Willie Eddins of American Legion Post 178, one of the organizations hosting the event.

Pastor Steve Savage of Trinity Friends Church in Van Wert provided the Memorial Day message and continued the theme of honoring those who serve, instead of glorifying war.

“War can be ugly, but duty can be beautiful,” Pastor Savage said. “I pray that America will long choose to glorify war less and to glorify the sacrifice of those who courageously serve more.”

“We do not come today to extol the virtues and glories of war, we do not rattle sabers with bloodthirsty joy like some; we come today to mark and remember faithful servants who sacrificed much on behalf of their grateful nation,” he added.

The local minister noted that he has had the honor to visit presidential monuments, as well as war monuments and Arlington Cemetery, but added that, while some of those honor those who served “without fanfare or fame,” the common soldier is often forgotten.

“…for most of those common soldiers, there is little to mark their resting places … no great monuments mark, no stony tower is often raised to their honor,” Pastor Savage said. “What marks their resting place is simply the task that they have faithfully done. The honor raised up to them is the continuance of our liberty and the freedom of our great nation.”

Pastor Savage also quoted former President James Garfield, who said of soldiers: “For love of country, they accepted death.”

Pastor Steve Savage speaks during Van Wert Memorial Day ceremonies at Woodland Cemetery.

He also quoted Thomas Campbell, who said “the patriot’s blood is the seed of the tree of freedom’s tree.”

Following Rev. Savage’s talk, wreaths were placed to honor the dead, while an honors unit comprised of members of local veterans groups provided a 21-gun salute to those who sacrificed their lives for the nation.

The Van Wert Brass Band provided patriotic musical selections for the ceremony, and also played “Taps” following the 21-gun salute.

Dick Elder, chaplain of Legion Post 178, gave the benediction.

A follow-up wreath-laying ceremony was held at Memorial Park on West Main Street, followed by lunch at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5803.

Several other Memorial Day ceremonies were held, including those in Ohio City, Willshire and Convoy, including parades and other special activities (more photos will be in Thursday).

POSTED: 05/29/12 at 6:38 am. FILED UNDER: News