On Saturday afternoon a State Of Ohio Combat Infantrymen’s Association CIB Monument dedication ceremony was held at Sunbury’s Old Church Park, next to the Statue Of Liberty.
The Combat Infantryman’s Association is a national veteran’s service organization with membership comprised of those who have earned the United States Army’s highest award, The Combat Infantryman’s Badge, nicknamed the CIB.
The CIB is awarded to personnel in the grade of Colonel or below with an infantry military occupational specialty that has satisfactorily performed duty while assigned as a member of an infantry unit, brigade or smaller size after 6 December 1941.
Combat Infantrymen’s Association Ohio Headquarters Commander Chris Callen was joined in the ceremony by Ohio Fallen Heroes Memorial founder and CIA National Commander Jerry Jodrey, who also serves as the Sunbury VFW Post 8736 Commander, and Sunbury Mayor Tommy Hatfield.
Callen noted that the CIB is worn above all other uniform medals.
“It’s important always to recognize the sacrifice of those soldiers who make it possible for you and I to be here today,” Callen said. “On the monument it says Follow Me, because the combat infantryman is first in battle.”
Mayor Hatfield, who accepted the monument on behalf of the residents of Sunbury, said he was not from a military family, and he has become aware of the significance of the Combat Infantrymen’s Badge over the past 10 years.
“I cannot express how it touched me, when I began to understand what this badge means,” Hatfield said. “It’s truly a blessing for us to have this monument here in Sunbury. In today’s world it seems there is less and less patriotism. But it’s important for people to know what this Combat Infantrymen’s Badge represents. To know that people willingly enlisted to go into combat zones and fight for the freedoms we have today.”
Hatfield said the monument’s location at Olde Church Park makes it possible for village residents and visitors to drive by and walk by and see that motto Follow Me, and appreciate the infantrymen’s service.
“Sometimes things like this seem so small,” Hatfield said. “But a monument like this explains what the Combat Infantrymen’s Badge means, and why it’s displayed on an infantryman’s uniform. We appreciate you bringing this monument to Sunbury,” he added. “It emphasizes that we live in a town where patriotism is still alive.”