Honoring Our Own
The Bargain Hunter, By Ann Swinderman
Long after Taps are played, people continue to pay tribute to veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice for keeping American safe. Whether it is during wartime or peace, the death of a veteran tugs at our heartstrings and makes us pause and reflect on the sacrifice made in order to maintain our freedom. It is for those reasons that Tuscarawas County veterans groups have joined forces. And now they are seeking the public’s help in their latest endeavor.
The Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery, located outside of Rittman, serves as a final resting place for many Ohio veterans. The number of Tuscarawas County veterans and their spouses who have chosen to be interred there has increased since the cemetery was established in 2000. Burial for eligible veterans, their spouses and dependents is free of cost. It is estimated that two to three Tuscarawas County veterans are laid to rest at the Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery each month.
However, something is missing at the cemetery to pay tribute to these fine Tuscarawas County men and women. During a recent charter bus trip to the Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery, Tuscarawas County Veterans Service Officer Director Debbie Cook, Tuscarawas County Veterans Service Commission President Roger Schwartz and Tuscarawas County Veterans Service Commission member Jeff Schrock noticed something was missing. Tuscarawas County did not have a memorial stone at the cemetery’s memorial pathway. The memorial pathway consists of monuments donated by various veteran organizations from northeast Ohio.
The winding walkway of the Memorial Pathway is bordered by memorials donated by various veteran organizations. Tuscarawas County is one of the few counties not represented, which will change once the black granite monument is erected in 2011, providing enough funds are raised.
Old Glory flies high above the tombstones at Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery. Currently, two to three Tuscarawas County veterans are buried at the cemetery every week.
“We looked at each other and said, “Tuscarawas County is not represented in the walkway. What’s the problem? We need to get that fixed.” And the rest, as they can say, is quickly becoming history. That one visit to Rittman has culminated in all of Tuscarawas County Veteran Memorial Stone Fund Committee. The group is currently raising funds to purchase and erect a memorial stone on the cemetery’s walkway to honor Tuscarawas County veterans interred there.
This project is not a veteran service office project. However, Cook believes the project is very important. “This project is open to all veterans organizations and they are working together to make this happen. It is a group effort by all veterans in the county,” she said. Currently, funds are being collected for the black mist granite monument. The memorial, which is being made by Dover Memorials, will have a custom hand etched colored American flag along with military emblems on the Pennsylvania quarried granite. The overall cost of the project is estimated to be $15,000. The group hopes to have the funds raised by December and unveil the monument in May 2011.
Donations can be sent to the Tuscarawas County Veteran Memorial Stone Fund, P.O. Box 65, Bolivar 44612. For more information about this project, call Jeff Schrock at 330-852-2629, Debbie Cook at 330-339-1163 or Roger Schwartz at 330-343-1193.
The Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery, part of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ National Cemetery Administration, is located at 10175 Rawiga Road, Rittman. The 273 acre cemetery accommodates cremated and casketed remains. More that 1,500 burials are conducted each year and that number continues to increase.
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