The sounds of a 21-gun salute and “Echo Taps” floated across the Youngstown State University campus to end the solemn Reading of the Names ceremony honoring the 67 YSU students or employees who died while on active military duty.
The ceremony, conducted at Veterans Plaza on Armed Forces Boulevard, began in 1997 with 52 names on the list.
The vast majority of the names read were YSU students and World War II veterans who were joined by several veterans of the Korean and Vietnam wars and veterans who died in other conflicts or in other situations.
“Honoring and remembering these men is the most important thing we can do,” said Dale Baringer of Austintown, chaplain of the Marine Corps League’s Tri-State Detachment 494, which provided the 21-gun salute.
“We veterans share a bond, no matter which branch of the military we were a member of or when we served, whether during peace or in war,” said Baringer, who served with the Marine Corps in Vietnam.
“Fewer and fewer people attend the Reading of the Names ceremony. If we don’t remember, who will,” he said.
Among the group of YSU faculty and students and guests in attendance were two who participated in reading the names: Tammy King, associate dean of the College of Health and Human Services, and Vernon Haynes, professor of psychology at the university and chairman of its Veterans Affairs Advisory Council.
At the luncheon after the ceremony, King and Haynes were among family members and friends who planned to talk about their loved ones and their military service.
King last year raised the name of her grandfather, Jacob Callihan, who served in the Army during WWII and was a prisoner of war in Germany and received a Purple Heart.
This year, she praised the service of her brother, Patrick Callihan, who served in the Air Force from 1985 to 1993 and was a machinist who worked on F-15 jet fighters at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Alaska.
Haynes, who served in the Air Force from 1974 to 1978, said his son, Sean, served in the Navy aboard the USS George Washington.
“Now a petty officer third class, he decided he needed to find something bigger than himself and joined the Navy. He has grown up tremendously. He quickly became a responsible young man. We [he and his wife, Marite] are very proud of him,” Haynes said.
The 910th Airlift Wing Color Guard based at the Youngstown Air Reserve Station in Vienna presented the colors, and T.J. Gloss and Dennis Hawkins played taps.
Others who read names, and their military affiliations, were: Rick Williams, Army; Michael Costarell, Navy; Mark Welton, Army; and David Olekshuk, Air Force.