Veterans Day ceremonies

By Balinda Zimmerman
The City of Milan held the traditional Veterans Day Ceremony at the Wilson Park Veteran’s Memorial Site on Wabash St. on Sunday, November 8, 2015.  The event began with the entrance of the George A. Falk VFW Post Color Guard followed by an introduction of Don Tillery who was recently appointed as the new Police Chief of Milan. Chief Tillery introduced the American Heritage Girls who led the crowd in singing the National Anthem followed by the Cub Scouts Troop 491 who lead the Pledge of Allegiance.
Chief Tillery then introduced Mayor Michael Armitage who spoke of the sacrifices our service members make.  Mayor Armitage stated “it is tragic that the men and women who allow us to be safe in our homes are often without homes themselves when they shed their uniforms. One-in-four of America’s homeless population are veterans. Nine-out-of-ten were honorably discharged and nearly half served during the Vietnam War.” Mayor Armitage further recognized that “PTSD, Traumatic Brain Injury and life-altering war wounds not only affect the veteran, but can also take an enormous toll on the family as well.” He encouraged companies in our area to hire veterans when possible. He further stated, “ it is America’s job to ensure these veterans do not suffer” when returning home from serving their country and coming back to civilian life.
Vietnam Veteran Tom Dupuis was the originator of the idea for the Memorial Wall in Milan. Mr. Dupuis is also a member of “Moving Milan Forward” and recognized the names added to the memorial headstones during 2015.  Those added this year are: Terry G. Kempher, USA, Vietnam, J Scott McLaughlin, USN, 1993-2014 (see photo), Gerald R. Smith, USA 1962-64, Richard Bame, USN, POW, Vietnam,  Rodrick F. Beaton, USMC 1974-77, Lennon D. Federer, USA, 1966-67, Glenn Shields USAF/USA 1962-66/1974-90, Tim Southward, USA, Vietnam, William L. Southward, USN, WWII, Rev. Ralph E. Hargrave, USA, POW, Korea, Kenneth R. Bibee, USA, Vietnam, Richard G. Miles, USMA, Korea.  Mr. Dupuis estimates there are now about 1020 names engraved on the Memorial stones.
Reverend Doug Strader read a verse from Psalm 144:1-2 recognizing the asking of God’s blessings during fighting and wartime. He then led the crowd in a closing prayer just before The Backstreet Cruizer’s played “Taps”. The playing of “Taps” was immediately followed by the traditional firing of a WWII cannon with a boom that reverberated across the Ford Lake.  Although most of those in attendance are accustomed to the sound, and even after Chief Tillery had warned the crowd, some were taken off guard when the cannon fired almost immediately following “Taps.”
Balinda Zimmerman is the owner/operator at Milan Memories by Minna and a freelance writer for the Milan Eagle News. Balinda can be reached at balindaz [at] comcast [dot] net

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