EATON — Each year, Preble County veterans and members of the military are honored during a special ceremony held during fair week. This year was no exception.
Prior to the annual Preble County Fair parade, on Saturday, July 30, a special ceremony which concluded with a 21-gun salute and the playing of Taps honored those who have sacrificed to protect the nation’s freedom.
Eaton American Legion Post 215 Service Officer Jake Dailey was the featured speaker during the ceremony.
“It is my pleasure on behalf of our military and veteran community to extend a grateful thank you to the Preble County Fair Board for designating this day as Military and Veterans Appreciation Day,” Dailey noted. “For every military member male or female, who paid the ultimate price, 10 are severely injured or disabled.”
He went on to present a poem by George L. Skyped:
“I was that which others did not want to be.
“I went where others feared to go and did what others feared to do.
“I ask nothing from those who gave nothing, and reluctantly accepted the thought of eternal loneliness should I fail.
“I have seen the face of terror, felt the stinging cold of fear.
“And enjoyed the sweet taste of a moment’s love.
“I have cried, pained, and hoped, but most of all, I have lived times that others would say were best forgotten.
“At least some day I will be able to say that I was proud of what I was — a soldier.”
“Today is the day the Fair Board honors in a special way those who serve or are serving in our nation’s Armed Forces,” Dailey continued.
“It is the veteran not the preacher, who has given us freedom of religion.
“It is the veteran, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press.
“It is the veteran not the poet who has given us freedom of speech.
“It is the veteran, not the campus organizer who has given us freedom to assemble.
“It is the veteran not the lawyer who has given us the right to a free trial.
“It is the veteran not the politician who has given us the right to vote.
“It is the veteran who salutes the flag, who served under the flag and whose coffin is draped by the flag,” he said.
“The patriotic men and women who put their lives on hold to serve in our military to protect their families and our American way of life give us strength and a national will to persevere through any and all challenges that face our nation. They are patriotic, certainly, and they understand that with citizenship come national responsibilities. They know our way of life, with its liberties and freedoms, including our right to worship any God of our choice or no God at all is envied but, also hated by others in this world and they are aware the hatred is growing.
“Today I ask you as you support our nation’s military and veterans, to remember the promises made to these men and women who were willing to give their lives to defend our families and the way of life we enjoy. America’s military and veterans are expected to continue making sacrifices and experiencing terrible privatizations. It must be understood by our nation’s leaders they deserve much more than excuses and broken promises — what they do deserve is this nation’s full support and nothing less. Every military member and veteran took the oath to protect our country. They knew that meant stepping up, and often times, standing in harm’s way. Courage, loyalty, and national responsibility — that is the heritage they leave us.”
Dailey continued: “We must demonstrate compassion and understanding to the families of our wounded and disabled veterans. When a service member deploys the family also sacrifices. When a veteran returns from military service with disabling illnesses and injuries, the spouse, parents, and sometimes even children are placed into the role of caregiver. This is a 24-seven responsibility more often than not, creating financial disaster. The burden placed on these family members is overwhelming and exhausting. They face decades of services and care they were never prepared for. A lot of times with brain injuries, veterans can remember what they were like before the brain injury. The caregivers mourn who they’ve lost and the things they used to do, just as the veterans mourn who they used to be.
“Remember them in their determination and dedication. And remember, patriotism is not a mundane thing, so the next time you have the opportunity to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, Stand up, put your hand over your heart and honor our country, our military personnel and all of America’s veterans.
“Let not our legacy be we didn’t care,” he concluded.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @emowen_RH.