Letter: Reader honors veterans, speaks on changes to Piqua military banners program

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Piqua Area Chamber of Commerce is speaking with different organizations to, after a hiatus, create a new, manageable military banner program going forward. The new organization would not anticipate beginning a revised military banner program until at least 2023. No specific organization has committed at this time, but talks continue at the present time. Once the veterans banners are taken down after Veteran’s Day 2022, they will be provided back to the individual who purchased the banner.

To the Editor:

Memorial Day and Veterans Day are special holidays in which we Americans pay tribute to the men and women who have served in the military, some of whom have died while serving. Our military have fought for our freedoms and have risked their lives whether or not we realize it or appreciate it. First and foremost, they have protected our country and defended our values. Without the service of the military and veterans, we would not have the freedoms we enjoy today. Because of them, we enjoy free of speech, press, to assemble, and to choose religious preferences without persecution. Our military and veterans have risked their lives in foreign countries against enemies with little or no moral code or regard for human life. They provide us and our family hope for continued freedom and a peaceful future for our children and grandchildren. Because of them, we live in a safe country. They serve for all of us. We are grateful for their sacrifice.

But sacrifice without recognition is meaningless. And while any citizen can observe these special days in a personal way, recognition of our military and veterans through public displays is vital. Several years are, the Piqua Chamber of Commerce and the Veterans Memorial Park committee discussed the issue of honoring Piqua area military and veterans by displaying banners at the Memorial Park with photos and names. This consideration was not found to be feasible due to the anticipated volume. Instead, the Chamber, under the supervision of Scott Miller, and the city of Piqua graciously agreed to place military banners on Ash Street. At the time, Piqua was developing the beautification of the entrance into the city: new sidewalks, painting the railroad bridge, landscaping. The military banners, displayed with American flags, added to the entrance. Each banner displayed a photo, name, rank, branch, and date of service. Anyone driving along the Ash Street corridor immediately got the impression that the citizens of Piqua were very proud of their military families and veterans. It was a beautiful sight to behold.

Currently, the program is under the supervision of Kathy Sherman and the Chamber. Kathy has done an outstanding job in continuing and expanding the military banner project. Kathy has put her heart and soul in the continued success of the project. What started out to be two dozen banners at its inception has not expanded to well over 200 banners, extending from the east city limits along State Route 36 into town, and continuing up to College Street.

There are hundreds of similar communities throughout American that have chosen to honor our men and women who have served this country through a public display of Home Town Hero banners. Many local communities in Ohio, including the Miami Valley, have military banner displays. Santa Fe, New Mexico heard about the banners in Piqua, teamed up with their Chamber of Commerce and their local American Legion post and have now on display in their city over 300 banners.

Unfortunately, the Piqua Chamber of Commerce has decided not to continue sponsoring this program. It has been decided to remove all of the banners after Veterans Day 2022. Without new leadership, the military banner program might very well be an entity of the past. A new leader, or organization, or group of concerned citizens is needed to step up and take over the program by the end of this summer.

One thing will always be sincere: those who have served our country, those who have died defending our nation, defending our freedoms and values, are immortalized forever. They are our true heroes, and we are forever grateful.

— Jerry Christy

Piqua