Veterans honored in Akron ceremony

“For 24 hours the cadets in the University of Akron’s Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps kept a constant watch on a flame placed at the Buchtel Commons Sunday. Though the outdoor ceremony was hit with bouts of rain, the flame was not extinguished. The annual Veterans Day ceremony in Akron was held Monday and veterans were thanked and recognized for their sacrifices.”

For 24 hours the cadets in the University of Akron’s Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps kept a constant watch on a flame placed at the Buchtel Commons Sunday. Though the outdoor ceremony was hit with bouts of rain, the flame was not extinguished.

The annual Veterans Day ceremony in Akron was held Monday and veterans were thanked and recognized for their sacrifices. The ceremony was sponsored by UA’s ROTC 42nd Ohio Volunteer Battalion.

Army Col. Richard Curry, 37th Brigade Combat Team, was a guest speaker at the opening ceremony at the Martin University Center. He explained the importance of Veterans Day to the crowd.

We recognize that our veterans have given something of themselves for this country, and some have given all, he said. Laying down their lives to defend the freedoms we hold so dear, and today we especially honor those great veterans who have given their lives in defense of liberty.

We also recognize all veterans who’ve honorably worn the uniform of this great nation.

The ceremony included the posting of the colors, the flags of the United States, Ohio and Akron and the unveiling by the Akron Post Office of the new Purple Heart 41-cent stamp. This marks the 75th anniversary of the medal issued to those who were wounded or killed in action. It is one of the oldest military decorations still presented today.

The ceremonies moved outside as Buchtel Avenue was closed between Fir Hill and Spicer Street. Members of the local ROTC stood in formation for the entire outdoor portion of the day’s activities. Guest speaker Col. Tom Seamands, Chief, U.S. Army General Officer Management Office in Washington, D.C., reminded the crowd that Veterans Day is not a day off work or school, but a day to remember the veterans and those serving, and what they provide for everyone today.

It’s important to recognize that today is more than a day off of school or a day off from work, he said. It’s a time to appreciate and honor everyone who’s served in the armed forces whether it’s boots on the ground, ships on the sea, or wings in the air.

Seamands also acknowledged veterans in the audience and asked them to stand, followed by their families.

Young presided over the wreath-laying ceremony as a selected member from each military branch laid a wreath at the base of the walkway to the flame and the flagpoles.

They included retired Army Lt. Col. Harold Leone who served in the Korean War; retired Col. Speed Wilson of the Marine Corps, who served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam; George Kilkenny who served in the Navy during the Korean War; retired Maj. William Maki of the Air Force who served in Vietnam; Petty Officer First Class Tucker Jolly of the United States Coast Guard who served in Vietnam.

UA’s Army ROTC honor guard provided a 21-gun salute. Kenny Piatt from the School of Music played Taps on trumpet.

The ceremony closed with a short benediction given by Father James P. Lang, a retired major in the Army National Guard.

The Army ROTC’s program at UA, began in 1918. The Akron Army ROTC is organized as a cadet battalion and is nicknamed the Summit Rifles.


” #1.1361526:2646256148.jpg:20071113_vets1_cb.jpg:An ROTC member accompanies retired Col. Speed Wilson as he lays a wreath at Buchtel Commons.:Chistopher Bair”