LINDA MOODY/Advocate photo
Leon Johnson, past Department of Ohio VFW commander and a Vietnam veteran, spoke the crowd that gathered Sunday afternoon for the monument that was dedicated in Veteran’s Park.
GREENVILLE - A monument, which has been erected at the Veterans Memorial Park, was dedicated Sunday afternoon at the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post home on North Ohio Street.
The Veteran’s Day dedication was in honor of those who served or are serving in the Persian Gulf, Iraq and Afghanistan War. Each side of the triangle monument provides information for the respective battles.
Leon Johnson, past commander of the VFW Department of Ohio and Vietnam War veteran, was keynote speaker.
“I want to recognize the auxiliaries,” Johnson said. “It’s not just about the post members. It’s people like you who go out and make things happen.”
He then reflected back on his life.
“Coming back from Vietnam…wounded several times and losing comrades…we carry that with us the rest of our lives,” Johnson said. “It never goes away. I made several trips to Washington to see the black granite wall. Those were the people who didn’t come home. I had a mission and started dedicating myself to all those from all wars. Everyone who serves in the military, male or female, go into battle work on a buddy system. You leave no one behind. It takes the help of other people around you to get you through that. We have people honorably serving this country today.”
He went on, “The people serving today are exactly the same ones walking in our boots. We must support them and their families. It’s a commitment and we must stand steady to make sure government officials don’t let happen what happened years ago. Never send our young fighting people without giving them everything they deserve. Be there when they leave and be there when they come back home. That’s the healing the black granite wall in Washington did for me.”
Scott Reed, commander of VFW Post 7262 in Greenville served as emcee of the program.
Taking part in the ceremony were Debra Kaiser, service officer for Darke County Veterans Service; Robert Foster, commander of the Disabled American Veterans; and Norm Fullerton, commander of American Legion Post 140.
“Looking at this tribute and the rest of the Veteran’s Park, I have to think of the men and women that are out of work, without a home and the stresses this places on them,” Foster remarked. “Some even consider or come close to or actually gone as far as to take their own lives. Please take care of our veterans. We have to help them so they can help themselves. All veterans started out protecting our country making the United States of America the greatest place under God’s heaven.”
“I’m proud to be a veteran and proud of all veterans,” Fullerton said. “From boot camp, we developed a sense of brotherhood. We learned to live with one another and trust one another. I come from a large family of veterans. When I think of veterans, I think of family.”
“As a Desert Shield veteran, I’m a very proud very, a very proud commander of the post and a Third District officer. I try to do what I can for veterans in active duty and hope to continue doing it,” Reed told the audience. “I truly thank the Vietnam veterans. I welcome them home for what they endured and shouldn’t have. Now, we treat active duty veterans the way they should have. This monument is to honor those who served and lost lives there.”
Also participating were the NJROTC of Greenville Senior High School; Pastor Sam Hoeflich, who gave the opening and closing prayers; Greenville Color Guard with a salute to fallen comrades; and the Darke County Veterans Commission members, Doug Black, Ted Bruner, Jack Sloat, Delbert Braund and Bill Cooper.