From the World War I era, he mentioned Edwin Coulter who enlisted as a private to fight, turning down an opportunity to attend Officer Candidate School in order to go to France to fight in the war. He died there in 1918, shortly before the signing of the armistice which ended that war.
An important part of the city’s annual Veterans Day celebration is always the placing of red carnations in the wreath in memory of veterans who have died. Although this year’s program was done by video due to the pandemic, there were still about a dozen people Uptown who placed the flowers in the wreath. CONTRIBUTED/BOB RATTERMAN
Lawrence Williams was a Naval Aviator, who died in the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor which led to this country’s entry into World War II. He was aboard the USS Arizona and died there, the first resident of Oxford and graduate of Miami University to die in the war.
“Take a moment to think about those who are on active duty, those who served and those who made the ultimate sacrifice,” Smith said in his remarks.
The annual Veterans Day ceremony always includes a student presentation from the president of the Talawanda High School Key Club, a Kiwanis youth organization. This year’s president, Jens Bartel, began by saying we all appreciate the freedoms we have and called on everyone to remember how we got those freedoms we celebrate.
“As we gather to celebrate, we remember people who put their lives on the line for people they would probably never even meet,” he said, encouraging listeners to honor veterans every day of the year. “Thanking a hero only one day out of 365 days in a year is truly outrageous.”
A moving part of the ceremony every year is always the laying of the wreath and then allowing anyone to place a red carnation in it in memory of veterans who have died. There are also white carnations for people to take with them to honor servicemen and women currently serving.
Laying of the wreath was also prerecorded and shown during the video ceremony, but the wreath was in place until 5 p.m. that day to allow anyone to come by and place a red carnation in it or take a white carnation.
The ceremonial laying of the wreath was done by Oxford Police Officer Richard Butler, a U.S. Army veteran combat engineer who was the recipient of the Combat Action Badge, the Army Commendation Medal and the Army Achievement Medal.
Approximately a dozen people were present Uptown for the ceremony and most placed carnations in the wreath. Six of those on hand were members of the Oxford Rotary Club who held flags flanking the veterans memorial near the wreath.
As usual, the Pledge of Allegiance was led by the Oxford Parks and Recreation Learning Blocks Preschool Class, the National Anthem sung by the Miami University Glee Club and Posting of the Colors by the Miami NROTC Unit.
Taps was played in a recording at the Miami University Veterans Memorial and the video included moving scenes of the memorial’s quotes and names of Miami graduates who have served.
The ceremony was closed by a rendition of America the Beautiful by the Miami singing group the TrebleMakers.
The ceremony video, which was first available at 11 a.m. that day, was to be shown all day on a continuous loop. OPRD Director Casey Wooddell began the program by saying the change from the in-person program Uptown to a video ceremony was caused by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic and noted it is an inconvenience.
“The ceremony is different this year but everybody around the country is doing things differently,” he said. “No one has sacrificed like our veterans. Today we recognize those critical sacrifices.”