BG remembers those who gave their all for the nation

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   As other veterans marched past in the Memorial Day parade through downtown Bowling Green, John Barnes stood on the sidewalk. A U.S. Marine Corp veteran of the Korean War, Barnes makes a conscious decision every year to not march. “I just watch. I think people who put on the parade should have someone observing them,” said Barnes, of Bowling Green. “They should not be neglected.” Others along Monday’s parade route were also there to show their respects. “I just feel like I need to honor the veterans,” said Tony Aspacher, who rode his bicycle downtown. Betsy Grey was there to see her grandson lend a beat to the parade on the quad-drums with the Bowling Green High School Marching Band – and to pay her respects. “It’s not very long, but what’s in it is enjoyable,” she said. American flags had been posted along Main Street, and children stood curbside waving small versions of Old Glory. Most of the adults were hugging shady spots as the temperatures soared – but they felt compelled to be there. “I wanted to honor the people who sacrificed for our country,” said Norma Stickler, of Bowling Green. As is tradition, the parade traveled from downtown to the front of the Wood County Courthouse for a gun salute by Civil War re-enactors. Then it headed to Oak Grove Cemetery, where a program was held, with the annual reading of General Logan’s Orders, the Gettysburg Address, and the laying of the wreaths for veterans of every war. World War II veteran Silverio Gonzalez was again able to place the wreath representing those who perished in that war. U.S. Army Lt. Col. Steven Hopingardner reminded those present that Memorial Day was born from the ashes of the Civil War. Families of the 620,000 Americans killed in the war wanted some way to memorialize their fallen loved ones. “In those dark times, it was the families honoring their dead,” said Hopingardner, a professor of military science at Bowling Green State University, who has served three deployments to Iraq and one to Afghanistan. “We continue to honor our troops,” he said, urging those present to listen carefully to hear the voices of those who served and their families. “There are children without parents, mothers and fathers, siblings” – all who can still hear the voices of those who they lost. “It’s up to us to hear the voices of these families” and honor them, he said. “Many didn’t even volunteer for service,” Hopingardner said. “They were ordinary people who responded in extraordinary ways.” The long-standing tradition of Memorial Day – initially called Decoration Day – is to position the flag at half staff until noon. Then it is to be raised to the top of the flag pole, he stressed. “We…

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Area National Guard called to duty overseas

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   As the soldiers marched into the gym, the families rose to their feet and let the wave of pride push aside their fears for the moment. “Ladies and gentlemen, if you’re wondering what our nation’s finest look like, look no further. They are sitting in front of you,” said Major General John C. Harris, assistant adjutant general for the Ohio Army National Guard. The “call to duty” ceremony, held Wednesday afternoon in the Stroh Center at Bowling Green State University, bolstered the soldiers being deployed for Jordan, and fortified their families preparing for their absences. “I’m really proud of him, and he’s really proud to serve,” said Melissa Krieger, of Bowling Green, about her son Logan. Logan Krieger will turn 22 next Wednesday. “He’ll miss his birthday here,” his mom said. But she is certain of her son’s service. “I know they’ve been very well trained. And I’m confident they are going to look out for each other.” Krieger was one of about 360 soldiers from the Ohio National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 148th Infantry Regiment, headquartered in Walbridge, being deployed overseas to help train the Jordanian Army. The troops are expected to spend nine to 12 months overseas. “I’ve been preparing for this for eight months,” said Kristin Russo, Findlay, as she waited for her boyfriend James Preble to march past her seat in the stands. “I don’t think it’s real until they actually leave. It’s pretty surreal right now.” But like so many others, Russo was overwhelmed with pride for her boyfriend, for whom this will be his third deployment. “I’m really proud of him,” she said. Josie Shaheen, of Syracuse, New York, is familiar with serving overseas, having been deployed to both Afghanistan and Qatar. But this time it’s her husband going, and this time they have a little girl, Emma, 1 ½ years old. “He’s going to miss her second birthday. He’s afraid she won’t recognize him when he gets home,” she said of her husband, Mahdey Shaheen. As he spoke to the soldiers and their families, Harris said those being deployed will miss countless birthdays, anniversaries, proms, graduations, failed furnaces and broken down cars. “I know it’s you who will have to bear that burden,” Harris said to the families. But their loved ones are needed overseas, to support Operation Inherent Resolve in Jordan, and Operation Spartan Shield in the United Arab Emirates. “You represent our nation’s finest, which means you are the world’s finest,” Harris said to the soldiers. Of those headed to Jordan, 58 have already been deployed once before. For 30 this will be their third deployment, for 10 it will be their fourth, and for three this will be their fifth tour of duty. “This is the best led and most experienced battalion,” Harris…

Military Times: BGSU tops in Ohio for veterans

By BOB CUNNINGHAM BGSU Office of Marketing & Communications Bowling Green State University was named the top “Best for Vets 2017” university in Ohio by the Military Times. Military Times ranked BGSU 46th out of 130 four-year institutions in the nation, besting all other Ohio schools and remaining one of the top academic choices in the country for veterans and active-duty military personnel. “We are extremely proud to be considered among the best universities in the nation in making sure that student veterans have the necessary tools to succeed in academic life,” BGSU President Mary Ellen Mazey said. “These rankings recognize Bowling Green State University’s dedication to helping current and former U.S. military personnel inside and outside of the classroom.” To be considered for “Best for Vets,” colleges had to fill out a survey of about 150 questions. Military Times evaluated schools’ responses plus other data collected by three federal agencies. Most colleges that filled out the survey didn’t make the 130-school cut, the publication said. BGSU also is among 42 schools in the new Peer Advisors for Veteran Education (PAVE) program, a peer-support system that connects new student veterans with on-campus student veterans to help adjust to university life. PAVE is a collaboration between the University of Michigan Depression Center and Department of Psychiatry and Student Veterans of America. “Best for Vets,” which regularly recognizes BGSU, evaluated schools in five categories: university culture, academic outcomes/quality, student support, academic policies and cost and financial aid. “The University has long been committed to making a college education a reality for veteran students,” said Barbara Henry, assistant vice president for nontraditional and military student services. “We are here to help make the transition from life in the military to life on a college campus as seamless and stress-free as possible.”