Wreath Laying Marks Columbus Veterans Day

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Colonel Deborah Ashenhurst of the Ohio Army National Guard salutes as Taps is played
Colonel Deborah Ashenhurst of the Ohio Army National Guard salutes as Taps is played

At 11 o’clock on Veterans Day there was a wreath laying ceremony at Greenlawn Cemetery in Columbus.

A flag at the grave of World War 2 veteran Marvin Smith was ruffled in the stiff breeze at Greenlawn. Meanwhile 83-year-old Loretta Ballenger held aloft the Stars and Stripes as she directed traffic to the ceremony. She says that compared to what veterans have gone through she did not mind the cold, brisk wind

“Yes it’s kind of chilly but they suffered through worse than this; below zero and snow way deep,” Ballenger said. “And so it’s not a sacrifice at all for me to be out here.”

Her thoughts were echoed by Colonel Deborah Ashenhurst of the Ohio Army National Guard who addressed the small group of people assembled for the occasion.

“Today on Veterans Day we honor them for their service,” Ashenhurst said. “We honor them for their sacrifice and for making a difference in our world.”

Later Ashenhurst helped lay a wreath in the center of Greenlawn section 104 where the remains of World War II, Korean and some Vietnam Veterans are buried. Barry Haigler, who attended the ceremony, says he also came to visit the graves of his father and other family members who served in the military

“My father was in the Vietnam War. I just went down to visit him. He’s buried right over there. And I respect him. I respect everybody that has been in war or the service,” Haigler said.

And that, says Col. Ashenhurst is what Veterans Day is about; honoring all veterans past and present.

“Veterans Day is a day to commemorate all military members, dead and alive; anyone who served in the military in our armed forces,” Ashenhurst said.

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