The names of 304 Ohio veterans who have died in the War on Terrorism are engraved on the east side of the Ohio Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Wall at Ohio Veterans’ Memorial Park in Clinton. The west side of the wall is engraved with the names of 3,095 Ohioans killed in the Vietnam War.
By William K. Alcorn
The names of 304 Ohio veterans who died in the War on Terrorism, engraved onto the east side of the Ohio Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Wall, will be unveiled at noon Saturday at Ohio Veterans’ Memorial Park.
The west side of the 125-foot-long black granite wall is engraved with the names of 3,095 Ohio men and women who died in the Vietnam War.
The east side of the wall depicts photos and a description of the wars in Ohio history from the War of 1812 to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
This year the names of military personnel killed in the Beirut bombing, the Gulf War, Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation New Dawn through July 4, 2012, have been added to the east side of the wall.
There is room for more names as it becomes necessary, said Michelle Kelly, spokeswoman for the Ohio Veterans’ Memorial Park in Clinton, about 20 miles south of Akron.
Bob Earley of WNIR Radio, a talk-radio station in the Kent/Akron area, and Gold Star father Scott Warner are masters of ceremony of the noon dedication, which is free and open to the public.
Guest speakers will include Gold Star fathers and mothers who lost children in service to the nation: Wesley Emch of Kent, Gold Star father of Navy Corpsman Luke Emch; Edie Deyarmin of Tallmadge, Gold Star mother Of Lance Cpl. Daniel “Nate” Deyarmin Jr., and Robert Gilbert of Richfield, Gold Star father of Gunnery Sgt. Robert L. Gilbert II.
Other speakers are Ma- rine Ricky Turner, who was wounded when his humvee was hit by an improvised explosive device;Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew Wojtecki, author of “Every Other Four,” a daily journal about the lives of the 3rd Battalion, 25th Marines, 4th Division Weapons Co. in al-Anbar Province, Iraq, in 2005; and Jason Dominguez, assistant director of the Ohio Department of Veterans Services.
A color guard from each branch of the service also will participate.
In addition to Saturday’s dedication, Ohio Veterans’ Memorial Park is having its second annual Concert in the Park and 5K/10K Run, a fundraiser to help pay for, grow and maintain the park.
The Concert in the Park includes a car show, sponsored by Don Sitts Auto Sales, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. There will be eight hours of live, continuous music beginning at 3 p.m., and military displays, vendors and food all day. The cost is $10 per person; children under 12 get in free.
Registration for the 5K/10K event begins at 6 a.m. on race day, and the runs start at 7:30 a.m. The cost on race day is 5K, $25, and 10K, $30. Online registration will be accepted until 5 p.m. today at www.rsracingsystems.com. Runners also can donate an additional $10 to have the name of one of the 304 heroes added to the back of their race T-shirt.
Ohio Veterans’ Memorial Park is at 8005 Cleveland Massillon Road, Clinton, on 2.7 acres donated by the Clinton Cemetery. The dedication and groundbreaking ceremony was in August 2007.
On May 17, 2009, the park dedicated the Ohio Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall and unveiled a Gold Star Mother Statue holding a U.S. flag, which sits facing the names of the 3,095 and looks down on the name of Sharon Lane, the only woman honored on the wall from Vietnam.
On Nov. 13, 2010, the largest POW/MIA pond in the country was dedicated. and on Nov. 11, 2011, a Cobra AH-1F attack helicopter was dedicated.
“Everyone at the Ohio Veterans’ Memorial Park has worked so hard to raise the funds needed to honor these 304 Ohioans,” Kelly said. “All of us in some way have been personally affected by the tragedy war brings, but we now need to come together and make sure that the families of these young service members know that they are not alone and that we support and honor their loved one.”