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Remembering their sacrifice

Cemetery flags ruffled across the county Tuesday as VFW honor guards saluted their comrades.

Friday, November 12, 1999

Cemetery flags ruffled across the county Tuesday as VFW honor guards saluted their comrades.

The Disabled American Veterans offered prayers at the courthouse monument.

Schools called for moments of silence.

Businesses lighted marquees with thank-yous.

For Tom Sowards, Proctorville VFW Post 6878 commander, those Veterans Day sights meant a great deal, but not for himself.

"The people who didn’t come back, that’s the ones I want to remember," Sowards said. "Me, I’m here, I see all this."

Proctorville post members participated in a veterans’ breakfast, flag-raising, assembly and 21-gun salute in Fairland schools this Veterans Day.

Ironton Post 8850 held its annual dedication at the Woodland Cemetery Soldiers’ Section. The Symmes Valley post held other honor ceremonies.

Bob Griffith, veterans services director and past DAV officer, watched former officers salute memories of the fallen.

"We owe the veteran every respect there is, for without him, (we might) not be here in a free society," Griffith said.

So, people should remember, not only on Nov. 11, but every day of the year, he said.

South Point High School student Jason Thompson realized that as he introduced speakers at the school’s assembly.

"There is a true respect people have for veterans, if we give an opportunity for people to show it," he said.

Thompson recalled the words of teacher Jack Nuckols, whose father was one of more than two dozen vets honored Tuesday by students’ personalized thank-you letters.

"When we look at that flag, we should look more at the fact that people have made huge sacrifices for you to be able to stand there and say the Pledge of Allegiance," Thompson said. "It’s more of a concept than a piece of cloth."

Ohio Bureau of Employment Services veteran employment representative J.D. Johnson said he knew employers understood that concept, as he watched signs go up across the county this week.

Many listed names of a family’s sacrifice for peace, while others proclaimed simple thanks, he said.

"It’s the proper thing to do," Johnson said. "Veterans are people and too many times we forget."

OBES employees and others tried not to forget, participating in the Miller Throckmorton Memorial Walk for homeless vets Nov. 6 in Lucasville, he said.

They will continue remembrances during the rest of November – the state’s Hire a Vet Month, he added.

Dawson-Bryant students learned a lesson about their school system, and about history, on Veterans Day.

When the district built the old high school in the 1930s, a plaque honoring two local World War I soldiers – Homer Dawson and Curtis Bryant – hung on that building, high school co-principal Steve Easterling said.

Now, it hangs inside the new high school, following rededication ceremonies by students Tuesday morning.

"A lot of our students don’t know how the district got its name," Easterling said. "Sometimes people have not been in contact with a lot of vets and I think sometimes they don’t realize the pluses of what vets have done for us – the ones who gave their lives, the ones who were wounded."

The plaque, and the school’s name, help remind students and the community, he said.

Almost all schools held services and moments of silence Tuesday, to pay tribute to the county’s thousands of vets.

The Fairland High School band performed in the Huntington, W.Va., Veterans Day parade. Ironton teachers called attention to the special day in classes, principals said.

At the end of each Rock Hill High School class period, staff read a passage from a brochure recognizing Veterans Day over the PA system, principal Steve Lambert said.

Air Force planes from an Ohio base staged a flyby in the morning for Symmes Valley students, multi-level principal Bob Harris said.

The Ohio National Guard made presentations to elementary English classes. Veterans groups visited and high school teachers conducted programs.

South Point Middle School students made veteran guests a handmade gift similar to gifts seen during the Civil War. They were given out during the high school assembly.

"During the moment of silence, you could have heard a pin drop," said South Point High student Shannon James, who gave a speech.

"If we don’t remember our history, we are doomed to repeat it," said Miss James, whose grandfather served in World War II.

"It’s important to remember the sacrifices, because without them, we would not enjoy the freedoms we have today."