GALION — The Galion Historical Society has been working on organizing a Veteran Banner project since November of 2017 and the project finally came to fruition in May 2018 when members, and former members, of the Galion Community were able to sponsor 123 banners for local veterans.
The project was met with overwhelming support and 157 banners were included in the 2019 project. Plans for 2020 banners involve hanging 212 new banners.
On Thursday, July 18, 2019 the Galion Historical Society hosted a military ceremony to recognize the veterans who were honored in the 2019 banner project. More than 150 veterans, friends, and family members attended the ceremony at Historic Grace Church. The American Legion, under the direction of Ken Green, provided a color guard to bring an authentic military tribute to local veterans, complete with bugle calls.
Tanesha Pickering, Galion Historical Society Director, began the evening by thanking the numerous individuals involved in implementing the Veteran Banner Project, including Randy McDonald representing the Walter R. Hessenauer Foundation for funding the 2019 Banner Project and Craig Alguire of Photorama Studios.
Veteran Marcia Yunker added: “On behalf of the Board of Directors, I would like to thank Tanesha for bringing the Veteran Banner idea to the Board. Three years ago, her family was traveling and they drove through a small West Virginia town. While the veteran banners in this town were different, the concept was the same… Small town honoring Hometown Heroes.”
She was so impressed, she presented the idea to the Board, and working together with the Board, Mayor, City Line Department, and Photorama’s Craig Alguire, a new project began to unfold. Although she insists it wasn’t her original idea, it is because of her fore thought, hard work, and possessing the ability to see the “big picture,” the end result is an honorable way to salute our local veterans.
It is because of her creative ability and dedication to the work of the Galion Historical Society, on behalf of the City of Galion, that recently, Tanesha was awarded “Galion’s Young Professional of the Year.” Congratulations, and thank you, Tanesha, especially tonight , as we respect your vision and we honor our Hometown Heroes.”
Yunker asked that current service members and veterans stand to be recognized, while thanking them for answering the call to duty and recognizing that some of Galion’s “Hometown Heroes” could not be with us tonight as some made the ultimate sacrifice, some did not make the transition, and some have gone on before us. She also acknowledged Thomas Loan, Bill Unckrich, and William Scarbrough who made the ultimate sacrifice and asked Gold Star families in attendance to stand and receive condolences and respect for the difficult time their families experienced at the battle death of their loved one. She then asked family members, friends, colleagues, etc of a veteran to stand. Yunker, then recognized the sizable group, thanked them for their patriotic role in the banner project.
Yunker closed her introduction by saying, “your presence here tonight is a way to say to veterans, we remember. We remember, we honor, we respect, and we recognize.”
Grace Point Youth Pastor, Jeanie Rinehart, gave the invocation. Rinehart began by saying, “Father, what an honor and privilege it is to be gathered together this evening to remember and honor our loved ones who have served in the United States Armed Forces…we remember those who gave all and acknowledge the brave men and women who served so boldly knowing that, they too, may be called to make the ultimate sacrifice, as well.”
She continued, “We thank you, Lord for demonstrating your love for us in the same way, by giving your life for ours.” Rinehart concluded, praying, “Help us never to take for granted the gift of our freedom that was diligently fought for and protected by all who have served and continue to serve.”
A poem of gratitude was read by Tanesha Pickering. She centered on the civilian’s role as not being able to understand the veterans’ sacrifices made in war and times of peace but noted, “with blessings and gratitude, we ask that you remember you are loved. Thank You for your service!”
Pickering then introduced a tribute video depicting all 157 veterans honored this year. Veterans, sponsors, and friends were asked to stand when their veteran appeared on the screen. The video can be seen on the Galion Historical Society Facebook page and soon can be viewed at www.galionhistory.com.
Galion Historical Society board vice-president and veteran Mike Mateer read the Veteran’s Creed, consisting of eight veteran qualities and commitments, ”I am an American veteran. I proudly served my country. I live the values I learned in the military. I continue to serve my community, my country, and my fellow veterans. I maintain my physical and mental discipline. I continue to lead and improve. I make a difference. I honor and remember my fallen comrades.”
Mateer then asked everyone to stand for the playing of “Taps” and remain standing as the “Colors” were retired.
In her closing remarks, Yunker thanked the attendees and the Galion Community by saying, “Your overwhelming support of this project has been phenomenal. With your help, you have helped the Galion Historical Society to preserve and promote such an important part of our local history.”
This year’s banners will hang through Veteran’s Day. The Galion Historical Society will store the banners until May of 2020 and they will be hung again next year, along with the 212 new 2020 banners. Following the ceremony, light refreshments were served in the church reception hall.
The Galion Historical Society has set February 27, 2020 as Registration Night for 2020 banners. Registration will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. at Historic Grace Church, 130 W. Walnut Street. Watch for more details as we get closer to the registration dates.