Vets honored in Lordstown
LORDSTOWN — Nearly 40 veterans who served during World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq were honored by friends and family members during an assembly at Lordstown High School Thursday morning.
Keynote speaker Col. James Dignan said veterans come from many different backgrounds and experienced different conditions while serving their country.
Dignan is the former commander of the 910th Airlift Wing at the Youngstown Air Reserve Station in Vienna and is the new Chief Executive Officer of the Youngstown-Warren Regional Chamber.
Dignan said most veterans share several fundamental qualities, including courage, pride, determination, selflessness, dedication to duty and integrity.
“All the qualities needed to serve a cause larger than one’s self,” Dignan said. “Many of them didn’t ask to leave their homes to fight on distant battlefields. They didn’t go to war because they loved fighting. They were called to be part of something bigger than themselves. They (veterans) were ordinary people who responded in extraordinary ways in extreme times.”
Norman E. Johnson, a U.S. Army veteran who served from 1968 through 1970, said the ceremony at the high school and those that will take place today and this weekend are needed as a way for the nation to say thanks to those surviving veterans that laid the groundwork for the freedoms that people enjoy today.
“These events also honor those who did not return home,” Johnson said
Tom Dietz, 73, and his brother, Chris, both served in the U.S. Army during Vietnam and were assigned to stations 14 miles apart.
“I like the idea of these programs because they remind young people of the sacrifices made by others,” Dietz said.
Dennis Wilson, who served as a truck driver in Vietnam from 1968 to 1970, said these programs are good to remind kids about the world they live in.
“I think all young people should provide some kind of service,” Wilson said. “Not necessarily the military, but some kind of service to their communities.”
Debbie Wilson, Dennis’ wife, said many of their relatives have served and continue to serve in the military.
“It is a proud tradition,” she said.
The district has done these Take A Vet to School assemblies in each of the last four years, Lordstown Superintendent Terry Armstrong said.
It is co-sponsored by The History Channel, which provides hats and t-shirts for the participants and the veterans.