The first Logan County resident to reach the post of commander of the Ohio Department of the American Legion urged local residents to honor their veterans both living and deceased during the Memorial Day observance at the Bellefontaine Cemetery.
VFW Auxiliary President Sharon Ashcraft places a wreath in front of the American flag flying at half staff during the Memorial Day ceremony at the Bellefontaine Cemetery on Monday morning. (EXAMINER PHOTO | REUBEN MEES)
“Any American could feel honored today to speak of America’s sons and daughters, but as a veteran, it is a very special honor to speak to you on their behalf,” Jeff Kauffman said.
A veteran who served from 1969 to 1971 in Germany, Mr. Kauffman succeeded to the statewide position last June after previously having served as deputy vice-commander and then vice-commander.
“This morning when I entered the cemetery, I see countless grave markers and flags on the graves of countless veterans and it brings tears to my eyes,” he told the crowd of veterans and observers. “But most of all, I feel humbled, honored and proud; and I feel thank and grateful to be among them.
“We do not just honor those with medals or who participated in the most horrific battles but the millions of men and women who have defended our country from the Revolutionary War to the modern War on Terrorism. It is through those who have fallen that we remember the gift we have been given — the gift of freedom that has been paid for with blood and tears.
“That is why it is important to honor those who deferred their own dreams in favor of ours,” Mr. Kaffuman said.
Also honored at the ceremony were grand marshal Max Harr who fought in the Korean War and Gold Star Mother Delores Mawhorr Shepherd, whose son Roger Shepered was killed in action in Vietnam.
Dave Rodgers served as emcee and Pastor Ed Beale of the First United Methodist Church offered prayers.
The winning float in the annual parade went to the 664th Air Command and Wing Squadron veterans group.
More photos in Tuesday's Examiner.
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