SIDNEY — All veterans, including active military members, were honored by officials from the city of Sidney and Shelby County downtown on courtsquare on a very windy Thursday morning, Nov. 11.
Over 150 people, including veterans of various ages and military branches, attended the annual ceremony in which retired U.S. Army Veteran John Looker, Vietnam combat veteran, was the guest speaker.
Serving as master of ceremony was U.S. Navy Veteran Rick Lunsford, Sidney American Legion – Post 217 commander.
“The Star-Spangled Banner” was performed by Amanda Shaffer. Other participants included a rifle salute given by the Sidney Veterans’ Honor Guard and the playing of “Taps” by Devan Wiford.
U.S. Army Veteran Jim Butler, with the American Legion; U.S. Army Veteran Tom Kinninger, with the VFW; U.S. Army Veteran Dick Snider, with the Disabled Army Veterans; Mary Kies, with the American Legion Ladies Auxiliary; and Dr. Michael Humphrey, with the American Legion Sons, placed the memorial wreaths during the service. Also in attendance were Shelby County Commissioners, with remarks from Shelby County Commissioner Tony Bornhorst, Sidney Mayor Mike Barhorst, and the invocation and benediction given by U.S. Marine Corp Veteran Alan Krahulek.
Bornhorst thanked veterans for their service and urged those gathered to thank a veteran and to pray for God’s blessings on the deceased, for those currently serving and for future veterans.
Barhorst also thanked those who have and continue to serve and for attendees for coming to the morning service. He noted Veterans Day is the day Americans in the U.S. and around the world pause to honor veterans.
“As a result of American veterans, we can enjoy the freedoms of today and everyday occurrences.” Barhorst said, also commenting on his grandfather’s and father’s service. “May God bless those serving, and may God bless America.”
Looker addressed veterans and others gathered about what it means to be a veteran. He called out to the crowd asking if any veterans were in attendance from WWII and other wars on down, and thanked them all for their service.
“Is there any veterans WWII in the audience?” Looker asked the crowd as he began his speech. “Thank you all for paving the way for all of us to enjoy the freedoms we enjoy today. There was 16 million of you that left for war. Unfortunately, there is only one million left today.”
After asking for the presence of other veterans of other wars and thanking each of those groups, the crowd gave a round of applause as a way to thank each group mentioned.
Looker encouraged people to thank veterans and ask about their service. He noted it may be the first time someone has asked about their service and could trigger a breakthrough for that person.
“Being a veteran is something that had to be earned and can never be taken away. It has no monetary value, but at the same time, it’s a priceless gift.” Looker said. “So from myself and to all the rest of the veterans out there, I commend you and thank you for all that you’ve done and your sacrifices…”
“I am a veteran,” he continued. “I’ve seen and done things you may not understand. I am a warrior; I will not accept defeat. I will never quit. I will never leave a fallen soldier. If they are hurt, I will carry them. If I can’t carry them, I will drag them. I will help them face their enemies, to include the demons within. They are my brothers and sisters. I am a veteran, and will do it all over, again, and again. Try to remember the good times, and make peace with the bad times. Share your stories, but most importantly, stand tall and proud. For you have the right to be called veteran.”
The Shelby County Veteran’s Service Office, located at 133 S. Ohio Ave., can be reached at 937-498-7282.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.