By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN
BG Independent News
Wood County veterans were reminded Saturday that their service to the nation has not been forgotten.
That gratitude was shown in the resurrection of a monument in their honor, and in the effort made to give a final salute at veterans’ funerals. Both were explained during a Veterans Day program in the Wood County Courthouse Atrium.
“None of us who have served consider ourselves heroes,” said veteran David Ridenour. “We are ordinary citizens who may have performed extra ordinary feats.”
And those selfless acts for the greater good must not be forgotten.
Army veteran Joe Fawcett, who is assistant municipal administrator for the city of Bowling Green, talked about the city’s efforts to restore the veterans memorial at the entrance of City Park.
The memorial was first dedicated on Memorial Day 1931, with the etched statement, “Bowling Green has not forgotten.” That statement was the catalyst for Bowling Green Public Works Director Brian Craft to restore the monument to its original glory.
Over the years, the monument had become overgrown by arborvitae, and had suffered from neglect.
“Unfortunately, it appeared we had forgotten,” Fawcett said.
In addition to removing the shrubbery and restoring the monument, the city also put bases in for flags around the site. The city invested more than $20,000 and countless hours in the effort.
“Brian’s vision is one that we can all be proud of,” Fawcett said.
“We all owe it to them to live up to the words, ‘Bowling Green has not forgotten,’” he added.
Local veterans are also being remembered in another way, with a final farewell performed by fellow veterans.
Mary Hanna, executive director of the Wood County Veterans Assistance Center and a Vietnam War veteran, talked about the importance of military funeral honors.
“It’s the final demonstration a grateful nation can provide to a veteran’s family,” Hanna said.
In 2009, Hanna worked to put together the Wood County Honors Detail, to be present at veterans’ funerals. The veterans fold and present the family with an American flag, perform a gun salute, and play taps. The honors detail was created due to the increasing number of requests for military burials and the difficulty meeting the needs, Hanna said.
Since its formation, the honors detail group has attended more than 270 funerals. The organization currently has 35 members, all honorably discharged veterans.
Hanna presented certificates to each of the volunteers present on Saturday, and thanked them for their service. “They make sure our fallen veterans are taken care of properly,” she said.
Also during the Veterans Day program at the courthouse, music was performed by Evie Van Vorhis and Greg Hernandez, who calls himself “The Rebel Fifer.”
“Our American troops have stood tall all over the world,” Hernandez said.
Once the program in the atrium was complete, the veterans moved outdoors for laying of wreaths at memorials on the courthouse grounds.
A salute was performed by a Civil War re-enactors firing squad, the 14th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. And taps was played by Jordan Schuman.
Saturday’s program was sponsored by AMVETS Post 711, American Legion Post 45, Paul C. Ladd VFW Post 1148, and the Fallen Timbers Memorial Association.