Memorial Day was observed in Swanton last Monday with a parade, ceremony, and luncheon.
The parade started at Crestwood Elementary School and included American Legion members, Boy Scouts, the Swanton High School band, poppy queen, grand marshal and more. It headed west on Church Street, then south on Main Street before ending at Memorial Park.
At the dough boy statue, the ceremony commenced with Lt. Col. David Pifer the featured speaker.
He spoke of airmen who had been lost, including Lt. Col. Kevin Sonnenberg, a Henry County native from the 180th Fighter Wing, who died in Iraq in 2007 when his F-16 crashed after take-off.
“The 180th family helped (his wife) Lorin and her son after Kevin’s death,” said Pifer. “She subsequently went around to all the military units in Ohio and gave them packages. She formed a foundation called Sonny Smiles where she gave them packages on what to expect and what you need to do in the event that you lose a loved one.”
Pifer also spoke of the small percentage of Americans who actually serve in the armed forces, saying few Americans know the burdens the military must bear. He said during World War II, 11.2 percent of the nation served, during the Vietnam War era, 4.3 percent served, and since 2001, 0.45 percent of the population have served.
“Taxes did not increase to pay for the war. War bonds were not sold. Gas was not regulated. In fact, the average citizen was actually asked to do nothing and has sacrificed nothing unless they have chosen out of the goodness of their hearts to help. The only people who have sacrificed are the veterans and their families.”
Reach Drew Stambaugh at 419-335-2010