GALION — Local residents gathered once again on Memorial Day to honor the memory of those who, to borrow the words of President Abraham Lincoln, have given “the last full measure of devotion” in service to the United States.
Galion native Col. William “Bill” Suver was the keynote speaker for the ceremony held at the Veterans Memorial at Fairview Cemetery. Suver served in the United States Army from 1983 to 2014. He was a member of the 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment as well as the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), which performs ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. After retiring from active duty, he joined the 19th Special Forces in the West Virginia Army National Guard.
Suver, who now resides in Ironton, Ohio, paid tribute to those who have given their lives in service to the United States and thanked their families for the great sacrifice.
“Most importantly, I want to express my deepest sympathies to the families here today whose loved ones have paid the ultimate price in defense of the country they loved,” Suver said. “I especially want to recognize Galion’s Staff Sgt. Kendall H. Ivy II, who lost his life in Iraq in May 2005. If any of the Ivy family is present today, my gratitude goes out to you. For anyone who has lost a loved one in combat, they should be proud knowing their loved one made a very personal decision. They decided to serve a cause higher than themselves, regardless of the outcome.
“Their fallen loved one gave the answer to two questions that have, over the centuries, defined the dedication of free men and women in the fight against wickedness: If not me, who? If not now, when?”
Suver shared about some of his personal experiences from his time as a member of the 75th Ranger Regiment, including the group’s deployment to Grenada in October 1983 to help liberate the island following a coup by communist-backed forces.
“On a personal note, Memorial Day is a very sad day for me,” Suver noted. “During my 30-plus years in service, I had the opportunity to be in three separate combat operations. I personally lost over a dozen men who fought alongside me. I knew them personally. Several others were wounded. Some carry these wounds still today.”
Suver said he lost six friends during the operation to liberate Grenada and two others during a mission in Afghanistan.
“Although it’s been over 30 years ago, today I still mourn the loss of these men as if it was yesterday,” Suver said. “May God bless every one of you who is mourning a loss of your loved one. Be strong and cherish the moments of happiness.”
The ceremony included the reading of the names of 16 local veterans who have passed away since the last Memorial Day ceremony was conducted in 2019 at Fairview. Wreaths were laid at the Veterans Memorial on behalf of 24 organizations.