"Thanks For Your Service"

By: Stanley Jefferson, Todd Baucher Email
By: Stanley Jefferson, Todd Baucher Email

Updated: 11/11/2012 8:10 P.M.

Considering all of the military veterans from Wood County, it might be a surprise to some that this type of picnic had never been tried before; an annual picnic honoring them on Veterans Day.

"The county commission asked us to hold an event at this park, because this park is not utilized enough," said Gary Farris, Director of the Veterans Museum of the Mid-Ohio Valley and an organizer of the event. "We put it together, and they helped us financially, and we started working on it."

It turns out the biggest concern wasn't whether anyone would show up to a picnic in mid-November, but whether the organizers would run out of food to feed them. And veterans from all of the nation's armed forces were there.

"This day is about you: Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard...and, oh, yeah...Marines," proclaimed local attorney and Vietnam veteran David Huffman. "I hope you all have fun. It's a fun day, a beautiful day."

And that, in no small way, probably accounted for the turnout. But Farris says there wasn't any way that it wouldn't have been held.

"We had heaters as backup. We had three heaters we were going to fire up to shoot inside the tents to warm it up. Fortunately, we've got great weather."

Considering a large number of the participants have been through the nation's conflicts of the past 70 years, the sun then didn't always shine on them. On this day, it did.

The event also included military equipment demonstrations, music and children's games.

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Sunday will mark a time for us to honor those that fought for our nation. The kids at Williamstown Elementary School took time out to have an early Veterans Day celebration.

The program honoring the veterans by singing several songs to let the soldiers know how much they appreciate them. Some of the kids even brought relatives that are veterans. They spoke to the crowd about their experiences at war and the history behind the holiday.

Soldiers in attendance are pleased to have a community that cares about the true meaning of Veterans Day.

"This is the third year we've done this program for Mrs. Baker and the Williamstown Elementary. I've been a part of these kids for five and a half years and it's just a pleasure to see them perform. I served for 22 years," says Retired U.S. Navy Glenn Rickard.

Teachers at the school put on the program to have the kids more exposed to the holiday. They also wanted the kids to understand that the freedom they have comes at a serious price.


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