LEWISBURG — The Village of Lewisburg honored its Hometown Heroes on Sunday, May 27, with a dedication held downtown. Hometown Heroes is another way the village has been honoring the bicentennial and the history of Lewisburg. Hometown Hero Banners are purchased by family members and displayed along many of the streets in the village, calling notice to those in the village who have served the country.
Mayor Marsha Jones opened the ceremony by welcoming Senator Bill Beagle and Ben Thaeler, field representative for Warren Davidson. Both commended the village on honoring their veterans and service members in this way.
Next, the invocation was given by Pastor Bill H. Crary from Victory Church, the Tri-County North High School Band played the National Anthem, Scouts led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance, and the TCN High School Band returned to play the Armed Forces Salute.
Paul Pahl, a Lewisburg area veteran, was welcomed to the stage to speak. Pahl was deployed nine times to Afghanistan and Iraq and has been awarded many medals for his heroism and service.
“Memorial Day has a meaning that no other day in America does. Memorial Day is a a holiday observed on the last Monday in May, every year. This day was originally called Decoration Day. It continued as Decoration Day — until the Federal Government adopted it as Memorial Day and announced it as a federal holiday,” Pahl said.
“One of the small, but great, gestures for the true heroes of our country. The heroes that gave the ultimate sacrifice for us to be here today, enjoying the celebrations with our grandmothers, grandfathers, mothers, and fathers. Memorial Day has a meeting far greater than most realize. This meaning lies deep in our history and it affects everyone here today.
“Many of us can look left and right and think about current events and have no one related to you that currently is involved in the turmoils around the world. Although, this may be true for the present, I almost guarantee with certainty you have some distant relative that played a role in us still being called the land of the free. Ultimately, they paid for this with their own blood.”
Pahl talked about his service and his brushes with death while on the field. His perseverance he credits to his faith and the “higher power” he believes in and his fellow service members who always had his back.
“I would like to conclude by reminding everyone that Memorial Day can be difficult,” he said. “Today, Memorial Day, is a day you stop and give your condolences. Take that moment, go to a cemetery, and bow your head at a stone identifying a soldier. Give them the credit they owe. Say thanks for their loss and let them know your gratitude for what they have done for us.”
Next,keynote speaker Don Kring was welcomed to the podium. Kring served in the Army and was in Vietnam from 1969-1971. He received a Purple Heart. He also worked at Tri-County North until 2012.
“To the Hometown Heroes Committee members, we thank you all for your work you have done to ensure this project came out to be the success that it is. To my fellow veterans and the citizens of Lewisburg, I welcome you all,” he said.
“On a personal note, I encourage you to take a ride around town to see these flags. Look for them and you will see those who have served. Once again, I want to applaud the Hometown Hero Committee for your willingness to serve.”
Henry Horn’s banner was unveiled during the ceremony, followed by TCN Band playing God Bless America, the benediction by Pastor Dave Justice from United Church of Christ, and closing remarks from Mayor Jones.
Following the ceremony, the parade marched from Tri-County North Local Schools to Roselawn Cemetery. A luncheon, held at the Tri-County North Community Center, was held at 2 p.m.
Hometown Hero applications are being accepted for the 2018-2019 season. The applications can be picked up at the following locations after June 1: Village of Lewisburg Office and Lewisburg Bicentennial Store. The application can also be downloaded from the Village of Lewisburg website at www.lewisburg.net.
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH