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Ceremonies honor Ohio Veterans’ Memorial Park

5/22/2014 - West Side Leader
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By Maria Lindsay

CLINTON — The fifth anniversary of the Ohio Veterans’ Memorial Park was celebrated with the 3095 Plus Freedom Ride and dedication ceremonies at the park May 17.

The ride began in Richfield and ended at the park, where a statue honoring Gold Star Fathers — fathers who have lost a child in combat — and a Purple Heart Bench were dedicated.

Shown above is Paige Burris standing in front of the Ohio Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Wall leading the singing of the national anthem at the unveilings.

Shown at right, from left, with the statue are Gold Star Fathers are Stephen Blackwell (who lost his son Justin), Tom Seesan (who lost his son Aaron) and Scott Warner (who lost his son Heath). All three fathers were speakers at the event, and the ceremony included the launch of red, white and blue balloons at the conclusion of the dedication. The statue is believed to be the first of its kind in the United States, according to event officials.

The Purple Heart Bench, which was funded by the Military Order of the Purple Heart Chapter 699 and includes the names of Ohio recipients of the honor, is shown below. The Military Order of the Purple Heart is given to men and woman serving in the U.S. Armed Forces who have been wounded or killed in combat, according to its website, www.purpleheart.org.

The ceremonies were followed by a reception.

— By Maria Lindsay

Photos: Scott Horstman

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