Members of the Wheelersburg High School band played the national anthem and taps as a new flag was raised.
“Our flag was all beaten up and we needed a new flag, so lo and behold if I didn't think that our veterans needed more than just a flag, so we have around 14 veterans and several of their spouses here today for us to honor,” said Jessica Edwards, resident director at River Bend House.
Edwards said she had only been at the facility for six months, but wanted to do something special to honor the veterans. She said it was the first time River Bend had ever hosted such a ceremony.
A color guard from James Dickey Post 23 of the American Legion stood at attention as the flag was raised, then the residents were taken inside for the remainder of the program.
Scioto County Commissioner Skip Riffe said he was honored to be invited to speak to those assembled for the event.
“I want to thank all of the veterans here today,” Riffe said. “You're the reason I'm standing here today. You're the ones who have fought the wars and risked your lives.”
Riffe also talked about the political football the war in Iraq has become.
“We just had an election, and on the national level, one of the big issues was the Iraq war. Is it right? Well, I don't know the answer to those questions, but what we all can't lose sight of, what I don't want to see happen is a big political bomb go off,” he said. “We need to make sure that our young men and women over there are not forgotten. I just don't want any of us to lose sight of them.”
Riffe said, “Whether being over there is right or wrong, they're there and we always have to support them.”
Veterans who received certificates from Kari Blevins, Life Enrichment Coordinator, included John Lambert, Elwood Brown, John Hanley, Harold Adkins, Gilford Thornton, John Newberry and Dallas Semones.
In addition to residents from River Bend, there were residents from Greenbrier Health Center, Best Care Nursing and Health Care and Adult Living Center.
Mary Ruth Cole, wrote a poem in the '40s, during World War II, titled “The Fighting Sons,” and she read the poem for those attending the ceremony. The poem honored the fighting forces of the United States and spoke of defeating Hitler, and the flying of “Old Glory,” ending with the following stanza. “Each and every one of you we will always cherish - ‘cause you're fighting that freedom shall ne'er perish. - To all who wear the green, white, khaki and blue. - To all sons, husbands and sweethearts too - we will never forget to honor and cherish you.”
“This is just our way to show our appreciation to our veterans for all they have done for us,” Edwards said.
FRANK LEWIS can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 232.