(WKBN) – Veterans were honored across the Mahoning Valley on Thursday in a variety of ceremonies to recognize them on Veterans Day.
The 910th Airlift Wing held several ceremonies in honor of past and current military members, including those who have passed away.
The ceremonies were held at All Souls Cemetery in Cortland, Resurrection Cemetery in Austintown and Calvary Cemetery in Youngstown.
This was the first year this was done at the cemeteries, but it won’t be the last.
“Here at the cemeteries, we are beyond honored to have thousands of veterans laid to rest within our four cemeteries, and we also have a lot of families that are currently serving and have served, and to show them just a little bit of recognition,” said Christa Blasko, director of cemeteries.
Westminster College’s Office of Faith and Spirituality honored local World War II veteran First Lt. Wallace King at the college’s annual Veterans Day program.
King served in the U.S. Army Air Corps and lives in New Wilmington, Pennsylvania.
He was recently admitted to the Legion of Honor, France’s highest honor, for his participation in the liberation of France from Nazi oppression.
During his time in France, King flew 75 combat missions.
“Two German soldiers dragged me to my feet. They gave me the motorbike they arrived on, started walking me up this road. As you can imagine, I thought, ‘This is not going well.’ I can’t explain it. I thought God was going to come and take me home,” he said.
King was a founding partner of Hill, Barth & King CPAs before retiring in 1983.
A number of local school districts also honored veterans through assemblies and unique programming.
Austintown Fitch holds an assembly every year. This year’s speaker was Colonel Kevin Riley. He’s the former commander of the 910th Mission Support Group of the Youngstown Air Reserve Station. Riley is now the senior aerospace science instructor at Fitch.
The school invited veterans and active-duty military to attend.
Principal Tim Kelty, who is a U.S. Army veteran, said those who died serving their country sacrificed twice with lives they had at the time and the lives they could have had.
“When they died, they gave up their chance to be a husband, a father, to be a son, to be a grandfather. They gave up their chance to be revered, old men. They gave up everything for their country,” Kelty said.
The program included patriotic music from the school’s choir and marching band, which performed tunes from all four branches of the military, as well as the Coast Guard.
Boardman Schools also celebrated veterans in unique ways.
Stadium Drive Elementary invited family members who have served in the military to walk through the school and join them in a breakfast snack in honor of Veterans Day.
Other school students and staff cheered as they walked through the halls, then took pictures with their veterans.
“We love coming to these, and get a little bit of a snack and just some fun time. The kids get to show us around the school, and make some cards, and show us the appreciation. It’s really a nice event,” said Army veteran Jon Lewis.
“I just want to say thank you for all of your services,” said Jon’s son, Blake.
The principal said the schools do an appreciation event every year.
A similar, drive-thru celebration was also scheduled for Thursday afternoon at West Boulevard Elementary.
Robinwood Lane will have a concert on Friday.
Students at Champion Local Schools also honored veterans with a special ceremony at the high school auditorium.
It included a procession of both veterans and current service members, plus a few patriotic songs performed by the choir of third and fourth graders and the high school’s symphonic band.
A senior citizen advisory council helped plan the event. It was their way of thanking those who have served on Veterans Day.
In Warren, warm conditions brought hundreds downtown for the annual Veterans Day Parade there. Marching units, antique cars and motorcycles traveled from Perkins Park, past the Trumbull County Veterans Memorial, and through Courthouse Square.