DARKE COUNTY — Veterans were honored with their own special day at the Great Darke County Fair on Wednesday’s Armed Forces Day.
Veterans and their immediate family members were admitted to the fair at no charge Wednesday, and vets were presented with specially made T-shirts recognizing their service to our country.
Guests were treated to a performance by the Band of Flight before the traditional parade and memorial service in the Grandstand. The United States Air Force Band of Flight is based at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton with the 88th Air Base Wing. The Band of Flight is the only U.S. Air Force band exclusively serving Ohio.
The parade into the grandstand included representatives of posts of the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars and their auxiliaries, as well as Darke County Veterans Services and Disabled American Veterans Chapter 57 of Darke County.
Mandy Rismiller performed the national anthem before the Pledge of Allegiance.
The featured speaker was Dennis Dickey, First Vice President for the American Legion 3rd District in Ohio. Dickey is a Vietnam veteran, having served in both the Marine Corps and the National Guard. He also is the brother of Douglas Dickey, who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor in 1967 for heroism in Vietnam.
Dickey first praised Rismiller for her traditional rendition of the national anthem.
He thanked Darke Countians for coming out to remember the service of veterans on this special day but added, “It’s important to remember that there are veterans out there defending us 365 days a year.”
Dickey stressed the importance of citizens to recognize the service that is “sometimes goes unnoticed by those who enjoy the security provided.”
Dickey told the crowd that the American Legion exists to serve veterans just as veterans have served the country.
“Those who defend us from our enemies must be supported,” he said.
He called on ordinary citizens to do the same, noting that fewer than 10 percent of the population can call themselves veterans, and fewer than 1 percent are actively defending the nation at any one time.
Dickey’s comments were followed a few words from Tom Pittman of Darke County Veterans Services, reminding veterans of the services provided by that organization.