EATON — On Saturday, Aug. 1, the Preble County Fair got under way, starting with an annual service honoring the county’s veterans.
The service featured the posting of the colors with American Legion James E. Ryan Post 322 in West Alexandria, Pastor Laura Thomas opening with prayer and the national anthem, followed by a moving speech by Jake Daily, and concluded with a 21-gun salute and the playing of “Taps” by the Preble County Honor Guard.
Daily was the keynote speaker for the event and spoke to those in attendance about the great sacrifice made by veterans: “ Let me describe today’s honorees, the veteran and military member — they are patriotic men and women who have a deep understanding of a citizens obligation of service and dedication to their nation. This nation that affords its citizens, unlimited opportunity.”
Daily however also spoke of another group who sacrifices for the county.
“However,” he said, “There is another group of patriotic citizens who are unsung and always overlooked. I am speaking of the wives, husbands, mothers, fathers, and sweethearts of the men and women who serve of have served. These are indeed dedication individuals who take care of and provide for disable and in many cases helpless veterans and they do this 24/7 without a break.”
Daily continued his speech imploring those in attendance to remember the rules and laws of driving and parking in reference to handicapped parking spaces, and reminding those in attendance those spaces are meant only for those occasions the person the sticker and license plate were assigned to, is currently in the car.
He concluded with the story simply entitled “Solider.” The story was about a young man who called home and told his parents he was bringing back a friend from the war who was wounded and is now missing an arm and leg after stepping on a land mine.
His father told the young soldier accepting a person into their home with such handicaps would place a severe burden on the family. A few weeks later, the story goes, “They received a call from the San Francisco police. Their son had died after falling from a building, they were told. The police believed it was suicide.” The story concluded — the parents went to identify their son’s body only to discover he is missing an arm and leg.
He finished his speech with the following words to the audience: “Tonight, before you tuck yourself in for the night, ask yourself — will I have the strength I need to accept people as they are and will I be more understanding of those who are different from me.”
Thomas led the service in two prayers and spoke about ways to remain patriotic, saying, “I can’t go back in time but I can be thankful for all that you have done, and do for our country.”
Thomas left those in attendance with a message of selflessness and love saying: “We have a funny way as people of hearing it today and forgetting it tomorrow. We need to be around people who help us remember that God loves us and we are called on to love one another. We need to be around people who remind us there is more to life than meets the eye.”
The service concluded with the entrance of the parade through the grandstands.