Middletown honors veterans in a pair of ceremonies

Veterans Day “means everything to me,” said Butler County Common Pleas Court Judge Noah Powers II moments after the annual Veterans Day ceremony at Woodside Cemetery & Arboretum.

It means everything to the former Middletown mayor not only because he is a veteran of the U.S. Army, serving post-Vietnam, or there are several veterans in his family lineage including a great-uncle whom his father, Noah Powers I, also a veteran, was named after.

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When Powers II was 8 or 9 years old his father was in a veterans hospital for a year and when his family was in need, military veterans helped — from providing his family food and a Christmas.

“It changed everything about me,” he said. “Those men were all my heroes.”

Veterans Day today is because of the armistice that ended World War I in the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918. A year later, Armistice Day was proclaimed by President Woodrow Wilson as a day of “solemn pride,” but it wasn’t until 1926 when Congress made it a national day of observance.

Armistice Day became a national holiday in 1938. President Dwight D. Eisenhower officially changed the name of Armistice Day to Veterans Day in 1954.

Powers told the dozens of men and women honoring the veterans, “We are America the free because of you, the brave.”

Before the cemetery ceremony, the American Legion Post 218, held a ceremony on South Main Street. Post Commander Mike Gomia told the dozens in attendance that in peacetime, the country can put wars “ugliness and suffering” in the past and move forward as one to not only promote citizenship but also have “tolerance of those of different faiths and creeds.”

Gomia later started the Woodside Cemetery ceremony, where he said, “One of the virtues born of war is courage individuals in the face of danger, and the courage of a nation to protect the weak and to question the aggressive. There’s also bravery to be shown in peace as well.”

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