Each year on Veterans Day, we pay tribute to the men and women who serve in our country’s military forces. Ohio offers the opportunity to honor them every day at veteran’s memorials you should plan to visit soon.
The Ohio Veteran’s Memorial Park
in Clinton, while a work in progress, provides poignant reminders of the sacrifices made by soldiers and the families who love them. At its heart is a 125-foot-long black granite Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall engraved with the names of more than 3,000 Ohioans who lost their lives during the conflict. On the monument’s reverse side, you can see highlights from Ohio’s proud military heritage dating back to the War of 1812. Nearby, the Gold Star Mother statue honors women and families who lost a child in service, and plans are underway for an additional sculpture in recognition of Blue Star Mothers, those who have (or have had) a son or daughter in the military. Memorials are located throughout the park – garden benches, flowering trees, engraved pavers and markers – along with flags representing each branch of the armed forces. A POW/MIA reflection pond and eternal flame (still under construction) will be dedicated to servicemen and women who remain unaccounted for, but never forgotten. For directions and additional information, go to www.ovmp.org.
North of Cincinnati, in Hamilton, honoring soldiers has been a community tradition for more than 100 years. The Soldiers, Sailors and Pioneers Monument, a massive three-story building, was dedicated in 1906 at Fort Hamilton. Atop its dome sits a 14-foot bronze statue of a Civil War soldier. Art glass windows pay homage to women’s wartime contributions, and polished marble slabs bear the names of Butler County’s first settlers and veterans from the Revolutionary through Spanish-American wars. The monument houses a collection of Civil War weaponry, as well as uniforms, photography and memorabilia from conflicts of the 20th century. There’s also a reference library with genealogy resources and records of residents who served in both World Wars, Korea, Vietnam and the Gulf. Get details at www.butlercountyohio.org/monument.
One of the state’s most unusual military attractions is the Confederate Soldiers Cemetery on Johnson’s Island in Lake Erie’s Sandusky Bay. It is here that a POW Depot operated from 1862 to 1865, housing as many as 10,000 prisoners, most of whom were Confederate officers, during that time. Today, the cemetery is all that remains of the prison camp with three monuments to honor those buried here; the first was dedicated in 1910, and the other two were dedicated in 2003. These monuments indicate 267 grave locations, although originally, there were 206 headstones. Nearby, the Johnson’s Island Museum, located in the Ohio Veterans Home, displays artifacts from private collections and offers exhibits covering the island’s vast history. While the museum is open only from Memorial Day to October 1, the cemetery itself offers a quiet place for reflection year-round. Information is available at www.ohiodnr.com/LinkClick.aspx?link=22605&tabid=20487 and www.johnsonsisland.org.
As the year winds down, take time to honor the contributions of our nation’s armed forces. A proud military heritage shows at memorials throughout Ohio.