Local veterans were recognized and respects were paid to all soldiers who passed away serving our country, at Memorial Day ceremonies in Fulton County.
The Wauseon ceremony, hosted by Judge James E. Barber, at the Wauseon High School, opened with the playing of “The Star Spangled Banner” by the WHS marching band
There was then a recognition of local veterans. All veterans at the ceremony were asked stand up, and tell the audience about their service to the United States.
There was a performance by the Wauseon High School Chorale.
Two students were selected to recite speeches from American history. Alizia Kudlica recited “In Flander’s Field,” and Greg Moore recited “The Gettysburg Address.”
All local veterans who have passed away in the last year were honored. Judge Barber listed each of their names, and then there was a moment of silence.
Barber introduced Father Patrick Rohen as this year’s guest speaker. Rohen has held a many positions in different branches of the U.S. military, as well as being awarded various medals and ribbons for his efforts and commitment to the nation.
Rohen began by acknowledging that he believes there are many others more suited than himself to be the speaker of this event.
“I was honored when they asked me to do this,” he said, “It is a pleasure to be here.”
As he told of his experience in the military, and the many hardships he and his fellow soldiers had to endure, he also made it clear that he was here to honor and commemorate the memory of the others who fought, and died, for this land.
“We think on Memorial Day of those who died for the country,” he told listeners, “I want to honor those who died, including my own father.” He then went on to tell of his father’s commitment to America, and how it influenced his own feelings, and actions to protect the country.
“Human beings are not, in many ways, created to go through the things we face,” Rohen told people as he explained the dangers of drug usage, which he observed making a heavy impact on the people he served with, “Stay away from the drug epidemic,” he warned everyone. He also shared his own personal views on suicide and how difficult it can be to help someone who is considering it, “The greatest challenge I faced is suicide,” he explained that he witnessed a countless number of people around him facing suicide, and he did his best to help each of them, despite how often he was unable to. He then added that this is a tremendous problem faced by people all over the world, and “There has to be a better way.”
Rohen ended his speech by encouraging everybody, once more, to give thanks to any and all veterans who have passed away, as well as the ones who are still living today.
The “Armed Forces Salute” was then played by the WHS marching band.
The Fulton County Honor Guard then performed the Three Volley Rifle Salute, and directly after, the WHS marching band performed “Taps.”
Parades and ceremonies were held throughout the county in observance of Memorial Day.
In Swanton, the parade was followed by a ceremony in front of The Spirt of the American Doughboy statue at Memorial Park. The theme was the 100th anniversary of the American Legion.
The Legion honored World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Panama, Desert Storm, Iraq, and Afghanistan veterans.