By Marc Kovac
With 28 tolls of a bell and a somber reading of names, state lawmakers on Thursday honored Ohio’s fallen military men and women.
Senators and representatives left behind their debates over abortion, election reform and other issues for the special joint session, focusing their attention instead on the families and friends of those who gave their lives in service over the past year.
“We are proud of every one of these brave individuals and sincerely appreciate the opportunity to hear your stories and memories of them,” said Senate President Tom Niehaus, R-New Richmond. “Those of us remaining behind must dedicate ourselves to their memory by completing the work they so nobly advanced.”
Under legislation signed into law several years ago, lawmakers honor fallen military men and women annually with Ohio Military Medals of Distinction presented during a joint convention of the Ohio House and Senate, with state leaders greeting family members and friends at the front of the chambers.
Eligible recipients must have been killed in the line of duty while involved in armed conflict or serving in combat zones.
“From the early days of the American Revolutionary War to World War II to the struggles that our nation faces today, men and women have put themselves forward in a cause that they believe is greater than themselves,” said House Speaker Bill Batchelder, R-Medina. “It’s one for which they have been sent throughout this world, volunteering to go into harm’s way to defend the freedoms and liberties we are blessed to have and to pass those values onto future generations.”