Focus on Fostoria - May_28_03

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Fostoria Focus
May 28, 2003

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Remembering a Major Part of Fostoria's Memorial Day
By Leonard Skonecki

"‘Praising what is lost,' said Shakespeare, ‘makes the remembrance dear.' We meet here today in that spirit." Dave Young, Memorial Day speaker.

Memorial Day 2003 at Fountain Cemetery renewed Fostoria's commitment to remembering her deceased veterans.

The usual 10am ceremonies were preceded at 9:30am by the ground-breaking ceremony for the Veterans Memorial Chapel.

The services begin each year with the posting of the colors. At the moment Veterans of Foreign Wars Comdr. And master of ceremonies Bruce Nolan commenced the services, he was drowned out by the roar of a low altitude fly-over of two F16 fighters of the Ohio National Guard.

Bruce introduced Dave Young, the day's featured guest. Dave is a lifelong resident of Seneca County, a U.S. Army veteran who served with the 25th Infantry Division.

Dave served in the Vietnam War in 1968-69 and saw combat in the area known as the Iron Triangle. He was wounded in 1968 and received the Purple Heart. He was awarded two Bronze Stars for valor.

Dave was chosen for Ann Arbor Veterans Administration Hospital Wall of Heroes in 1999. He is a retired police detective having served with the Tiffin Police Department.

Currently, Dave is chairman of the Seneca County Veterans Service Commission.

"It was in Vietnam that I learned the stark realization that was is about heart and sacrifices," Dave said. "Wounded, and lying on the ground in a country half way around the world, I thought of home and family and prayed to God."

Cemeteries, he said, play a unique role in our memory.

"Within this cemetery, young men returned from World War I, World War II, Korea and, yes, Vietnam. Search for them! I assure you that you will find them here. They are a constant reminder of the cost of war," he said.

"We thank God that the tradition of Memorial Day remains strong. I admonish you at this time to remember those who were the casualties of war," he said. "Remember the supreme act for love of country. They accepted death. They made immortal their patriotism and virtue. ...
Let each of us build a memorial in our hearts. Let our lives be well lived, our time on earth well spent and let it be a heritage of lasting meaning."

After the fly-over, the colors were posted by the VietnamVeterans of America Post 440. Rev. Donald Goodwin of Faith Tabernacle Church gave the invocation.

Fostoria Mayor John Davoli gave the welcome. Musical selections were provided by the Fostoria Community Band and vocalist Nancy Cupp.

Dustin Nedolast and Matthew Davoli read the Gettysburg Address and Gen. Logan's Orders. St. Wendelin's Fr. Douglas Garand gave the benediction. The Fostoria United Veterans Color Guard gave a firing squad salute to the dead. Jonathan Reinhart and Scott Brady of St. Wendelin played Taps.

Memorial Day observances are a cooperative effort of Fostoria's veterans organizations collectively known as the Fostoria Patriotic Federation – the American Legion Post 73, Amvets Post 69, Vietnam Veterans of America Post 440 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 421. Patty Ludwig is the Federation's secretary.

Many of the crowd of between 300-400 people turned out early for the ground-breaking for the Veterans Memorial Chapel to be located behind the Fountain Cemetery podium.

"Last year we made the major announcement about the chapel. Today we'll turn the first shovelfuls of dirt," Mayor Davoli said. "Next year, with God's help, we'll have the ribbon cutting on Memorial Day. It will come full circle."

The ground-breaking for the Veterans Memorial Chapel is an act which distinguishes this community," Dave added. "We wish to build a monument. Fir in it we will be able to gather, to treasure to praise and thereby be able to remember those lives who have preceded ours."

Mayor Davoli was assisted in the ground breaking by AMVETS Cmdr. Jon Brandeberry, Vietnam Veterans of America Cmdr. Arnie Sayre, Veterans of Foreign Wars Cmdr. Bruce Nolan and American Legion Comdr. Lou Collins.

They got to shovel some earth, but they did not, however, have the honor of turning the first spade of ground. That distinction was reserved for 89 year old Jim Kuhn.

"Kuhnie," as he is known to his many friends, is Fostoria's senior veteran. He turned the first shovelful to a generous shower of applause.

Five shovels were used in the ceremony. One will be displayed at City Hall and one will go to each post. A plate on each shovel reads "Fostoria Veterans Memorial Chapel Ground-breaking May 26, 2003."

Bill Parsons of the Veterans of Foreign Wars has read the poem "In Flanders Field" at Fostoria's Memorial Day services for many years now. A line from that poem reads: "Sleep on, brave soldiers, row on row."

They sleep on no matter what we, the living, do. They sleep far better so long as we remember them.