RITTMAN, Ohio – Communities across the country are taking a pause on Monday to honor the sacrifice made by those who have died in service to our country.
In Seville, families of service members interred in the Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery visited the gravesites of loved ones honoring their memories.
Meanwhile, in the nearby city of Rittman, the community recognized the day as many other cities and towns have with a parade and ceremony, keeping a solemn tradition that was started in 1868 to honor those who paid the ultimate sacrifice in the U.S. Civil War.
On Monday morning, Boy Scouts, First Responders and Veterans marched North on Main Street, which was lined with patriotic observers, many with their children and grandchildren.
“I think it’s an honor that we are still doing it, to tell the truth,” Esther Wallace said.
Among those marching was U.S. Navy Veteran Ron McComas, who is also a firefighter and police officer in Rittman.
“Today is definitely about the fallen. The ones that never made it back, so we are here to honor them for the sacrifice that they made to allow us to have a weekend like this,” McComas said.
The parade preceded a ceremony at the Rittman Cemetery where the graves of those who have served the country are marked with U.S. Flags.
“Today is not a day of mourning for those who have died in service to our country, rather it is a day of giving thanks to them for their sacrifice and remembering the price they paid for our freedom,” Rittman Mayor William Robinson said.
Carrying the OOW/MIA flag was U.S. Marine Corps Veteran Aaron Hill who survived three tours in the Middle East, joining the Marine Corps just after the attacks on 9-11.
“Things worked out for me, but it definitely didn’t work out for a lot of other people and that’s one reason why I still do this today. Its a lot of memories that come up but I try to keep them positive and that’s all we can do,” Hill said.
“Each fallen hero has a story, a family and a community that mourns their loss, they left behind loved ones that must carry on without them and it is our duty to support them, to care for them and to ensure that their sacrifice is never forgotten,” said featured speaker Rudy Arnold, representing the National Cemetery.