Focus on Fostoria - Nov_16_03

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Fostoria Focus
November 16, 2003

Veterans Day Full of Prayer, Gratitude and Remembrance
By Leonard Skonecki
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Fostoria began her Veterans Day services Nov. 11 with a prayer.

Jim Rochester, who represents the AMVETS on the Seneca County Veterans Service Commission, began The Veterans Day Prayer at 11 a.m., Tuesday at Fountain Cemetery to commemorate the conclusion of World War I which took place at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918.

The prayer was followed by a color guard and firing squad salute to all deceased veterans and the playing of "Taps" by the Fostoria United Veterans. Services were also conducted at St. Wendelin and Memory Garden Cemeteries.

The Kiwanis Club held another Veterans Day observance during its regular meeting in the lower level of the Good Shepherd Home.

Mike Kraus of the Kiwanis, who also served in the Army from 1968-71, organized the program.

"We always have programs that are needed and we always ask for volunteers out of the club for a program. I looked down the program list, saw that Veterans Day fell on a Tuesday which is Kiwanis meeting day. I thought that's the one I'll take, being a veteran myself," he said. "I felt obligated to take that. The purpose is to make people more aware of Veterans Day and to honor our veterans, past and present."

Mike contacted the veterans organizations which were eager to support the program. The commanders of Fostoria's four veterans organizations – Arnie Sayer of the Vietnam Veterans of America, Ron Thompson of the AMVETS, Bruce Nolan of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and Art Allison of the American Legion – participated in the posting of the colors at Good Shepherd.

Rev. Robert Chew of the Church of the Nazarene gave the invocation. Fostoria High senior Nate Overmier presented a history of Veterans Day.

The featured speaker was Gus Sierra, WFOB's morning announcer and a Kiwanian.

"Across our great country and thoughout the world," Gus said, "Americans will pause today to honor our brave fighting men and women who for more that 228 years have underwritten our freedom by their duty, honor and selfless service.

"...They understand the meaning of hardship, standing watch at freedom's frontier far from home. They have seen the horror of war and catastrophe, yet they endure and it is this devotion to duty that gives us strength.

"...We must now keep faith with our veterans and our military as this nation fights and wins the global on terrorism."

Following the services, each of the veterans posts held a luncheon. The American Legion, they held the annual service for the proper disposal of worn American flags and observed a moment of silence for our deceased veterans.

Several Good Shepherd residents attended the Kiwanis service, including some veterans.

One is Danny Rhoad. Danny, a member of Co. C of the 148th Infantry Regiment of the 37th Division and a Purple Heard recipient, participated in the liberation of the Philippines in World War II.

Another, Bob Mesnard, was a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division on D-Day. He participated in the liberation of the French village of St. Mere-Eglise.

St. Mere-Eglise was the first village freed on D-Day, the first place in Western Europe where freedom's flame was rekindled after four years of the Nazi horror.

Danny and Bob are two of the many men and women of the American military who have helped insure, in the words of the Veterans Day Prayer, the "blessings we enjoy through Your graciousness in our country."

Those blessings are precious. They are why we owe our veterans a debt of gratitude.