PATRIOTISM This year's theme: 'Pride in America'
A tribute to local veterans, police officers and firefighters will be on the grandstand stage Wednesday.
By IAN HILL
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
CANFIELD -- Believe it or not, the Mahoning Valley is home to more than just a foul-mouthed ex-congressman with bad hair. Other Valley icons include a world-renowned art gallery, several museums and a growing university.
"You have many, many [good] things that are happening in our community, but because it's an everyday occurrence, we're kind of complacent," said J.P. Brown III.
Brown, a Boardman resident and the state commander for AMVETS Department of Ohio, said he thinks local residents may have a greater appreciation for the positive aspects of their community after attending this week's Canfield Fair. The theme of the fair is "Pride in America."
"We have a lot to be proud of. ... Just drive up and down Wick Avenue," Brown said. The Butler Institute of American Art and the Arms Family Museum of Local History are both on Wick Avenue, Brown noted, as is Youngstown State University.
Brown said he thinks the "Pride in America" theme will encourage fairgoers to appreciate the Valley's assets, which include area safety officials. He is helping organize a tribute to local veterans, police officers and firefighters that will be on the grandstand stage Wednesday before the Sandi Patty and Lee Greenwood concert.
Greenwood is known for his song "God Bless the U.S.A.," and the Greenwood and Patty tour also is called "Pride in America."
Fair Manager Bev Fisher said fair officials felt the tribute and the theme reflected the country's attitude in the year since the Sept. 11 attacks.
"America's got something to crow about as much as we do," Fisher said, referring to the fair's "Something to Crow About" slogan.
As part of the tribute, veterans and fire and police chiefs from around Mahoning County will be introduced to the crowd at the grandstand. The Austintown Fire Department color guard also will give a presentation during the tribute.
Austintown Fire Chief Andrew Frost said he expects all of the fire chiefs in the county to attend the tribute.
"I think it's great. ... We feel honored," he said.
Carl Massullo, Poland Township police chief, noted that he feels the tribute is "certainly important given the state of things in our country."
"It certainly is an honor for me and hopefully it is for the other chiefs to be honored in this way," Massullo said.
Brown added that he feels the tribute will give local residents a good opportunity to express their appreciation for men and women in the military who have been called to active duty during the last year.
"A lot of people on a day-to-day basis look at the military and are proud of the military; they just don't say it. This is a little chance for us as veterans, and the fair itself to say, 'Thank you for your service.'"