The Ohio Fallen Heroes Memorial ceremony recognizing Ohio men and women who have died in the War on Terror started a few minutes early Sept. 10 because of an approaching thunderstorm, and was interrupted by a heavy rainfall.
Ohio Fallen Heroes Memorial President Jim Bernholtz introduced the keynote speaker, Rear Adm. June Ryan, Ninth Coast Guard District Commander.
Rear Adm. Ryan said her military career started in Ohio at Bowling Green State University, where she earned a Bachelors Degree in Biology and spent four years as a member of the U.S. Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps.
“Anyone who was ever joined the military has taken the same oath of office that George Washington took when he first became president,” Rear Adm. Ryan said. “People around the world take oaths – to their leaders, to their countries. We take an oath to defend and support the Constitution of the United States.”
Noting that members of today’s American military forces are all volunteers, Rear Adm. Ryan quoted aviation pioneer Jimmy Doolittle, who said: Nothing is stronger than the heart of a volunteer.
“Fifteen years ago, on September 11, it was an era of passiveness,” Rear Adm. Ryan said. “But we had men and women who chose a selflessness that continues to this day. They had a sense of pride and patriotism, and without their sacrifice, we would be living in a different world today.”
The Ohio Fallen Heroes Memorial was established in 2005 on East Cherry Street in Sunbury through the efforts of veterans, Gold Star families, and other patriotic Ohioans who wanted to create a lasting tribute to those killed in the War on Terror.
The Ohio House of Representatives recognized the the Ohio Fallen Heroes Memorial as a statewide memorial to Ohio’s fallen in 2005.
Each of the Ohio service members killed in the line of duty since the War on Terror began is honored with the placement of a large marble marker bearing his or her name, rank, and date of death.
The Memorial also includes a chapel, a Courtyard of Honor, and various military sculptures and flags.
For additional information visit the Ohio Fallen Heroes Memorial website at < ohiofallenheroes.org >.
Reporter Lenny C. Lepola can be reached at 614-266-6093.