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Veterans embody service, not just while in uniform

| November 11, 2019

COSHOCTON – Community members gathered at the courtsquare on Monday, Nov. 11 to honor our nation’s veterans. The Walhonding Rube Band provided upbeat patriotic music before the service began as some veterans walked around the courtsquare greeting others and telling about their experiences while others simply sat in silent reflection and remembrance.

The ceremony began at exactly 11 a.m. on the 11th day of the 11th month, which commemorates the ending of the First World War. Zach Miller was the emcee and Pastor Matt Anderson of the West Lafayette United Methodist Church gave the invocation, praying that all veterans with wounds both visible and those that are not would be healed by the power of the Holy Spirit and that the Lord would be with those grieving families who have lost a loved one through war or as a result of war.

The Pledge of Allegiance was recited, and the Walhonding Rube Band played the National Anthem. A moment of silence was held for fallen comrades and military personnel who are on active duty in harm’s way.

Miller then introduced all veterans’ organization commanders present. The guest speaker for the event was Sharon Burns, president of the Blue Star Mothers of Coshocton 59, and the daughter of a World War II veteran who was awarded a purple heart. She also has family serving in the coast guard.

Blue Star Mothers are moms, stepmoms, grandmas, aunts, sisters, or anyone who has family members serving our country or those who have served.

Burns spoke about the theme for this year’s veterans’ day, which is service.

“Veterans are the active volunteers in service to our country,” she said. “Service goes beyond the uniform.”

She also spoke about her father and how she never really asked him about his time in service.

“I am regretful for that today,” she said. “Students who are here, if you have a dad, grandpa, uncle, or someone in your family who has served, talk to them about their service.”

Sam Scott, a graduate of Kent State University, performed the Armed Forces Medley and personnel from each branch of the military stood as their branch’s song was performed.

The featured speaker of the day was Sergeant Phil Valdez of the Tuscarawas County Sheriff’s Office. Valdez served four years in the Marines. In 2000, he was discharged as sergeant and joined the sheriff’s office as a correction officer. In 2007, he was promoted to deputy and in 2014, he was promoted to detective. In 2017, he was again promoted to sergeant. In his spare time, he is the president of Operation Veterans Helping Veterans.

“I am honored to speak in front of veterans,” said Valdez. “It’s very humbling to come back to my home community to speak in front of a group of people I honored when I was a child and part of the reason I went into the Marine Corps.”

Valdez’s father was in the United States Navy for 20 years.

“Freedom isn’t free,” said Valdez. “It’s paid with the blood, sweat, and tears of all our ancestors who have fought.”

The veterans’ day ceremony ended with the playing of “God Bless the USA”, the 21-gun salute, and the playing of Taps.

Photos taken by Josie Sellers.

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About the Author ()

I have been employed at the Coshocton County Beacon since September 2009 as a news reporter and assistant graphic artist. I am a 2004 graduate of Newcomerstown High School and a 2008 graduate of Capital University with a bachelor’s degree in Professional Writing. I am married to John Scott and live in Newcomerstown. We have two beautiful daughters, Amelia Grace Scott and Leanna Rose Scott.

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