PIQUA — “On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month” is the time to annually honor the nation’s veterans.
The Piqua community gathered together to recognize and honor all veterans at the Veteran’s Memorial Park. The ceremony began with assembly by the Veterans Elite Tribute Squad followed by a brief presentation from Commander Dennis Tennery with the VFW Post 4874.
Tennery thanked the Forest Hill Cemetery staff and the city of Piqua employees for preparing the Veteran’s Memorial Park for the event.
Chaplain John Brady then gave the invocation. He asked for courage and patience in conducting peaceful plans around the world.
The Piqua Civic Band performed the National Anthem during the raising of the flag. Audience members of all ages joined in singing the National Anthem followed by the pledge of allegiance.
Then, the wreath and yellow rose were placed at the monument, which were donated by Allisten Manor’s Flower Box.
The band played a medley of patriotic music including “America the Beautiful” and other arrangements featuring various sections including trombones, clarinets, flutes, and trumpets.
Colonel James Dapore, US Army retiree, provided the Veteran’s Day Address. Dapore is a Piqua High School graduate and served in the U.S. Army for 40 years and 4 months following retirement in February 2012. Dapore has several awards, decorations, and citations including a bronze star medal, an armed forces reserved medal, and a combat action badge.
During his presentation, he said, “I have one recurring thought that this was an opportunity to thank the many veteran heroes that have gone before and the veterans that are serving now.”
He spoke about the history of Veteran’s Day.
“Veteran’s Day is to remember and acknowledge the debt we owe to these men and women who so cherished peace that they chose to live as warriors,” said Dapore.
He went on to say, “For more than 240 years, our military has provided a shield against our enemies. In that time, our world has changed and our armed forces have changed with it, but the people have not. Throughout our history, they have possessed valor, dignity, courage, and commitment from Valley Forge to Afghanistan, from the Alamo to Vietnam. The fighting spirit and legacy permeates the history of our nation. Thank you for your willingness to sacrifice your freedom for ours. Your willingness to serve far away from home. Your willingness to yield your individuality to defend our right for us to live as individuals.”
He then mentioned various battles and monuments that honor our heroes. He discussed his family and friends who served and thanked them, getting emotional discussing those who had lost their lives.
William Pitsenbarger’s legacy was recognized next in which Pitsenbarger lost his life while assisting with the Charlie Company during the Vietnam War. Then, Dapore thanked the mothers of veterans for their support and discussed the Gold Star mothers who utilized a gold star on a white cloth to represent children lost in the wars.
“America still relies on her sons and daughters to defend her liberty. The cost of independence remains high, but we are willing to pay it. We do not pay it lightly, but with deep reverence and thanks to those who have sacrificed their lives for America. God bless all our veterans, past, present, and future. Above all, those veterans who gave up their todays for our tomorrows,” finished Colonel Dapore.
Then, the Veterans Elite Tribute Squad conducted the firing of the gun salute followed by taps and a benediction by Brady.