Military veterans in the U.S., including about 26,000 who live in Butler County, will be celebrated for Veterans Day today, including in local events that continue recognition happening throughout the year.
One of those passionate about his family’s military service if Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones, an Army veteran who has traced his family’s military service and law enforcement service back past the Civil War to England.
“It is pretty simple, this is why we have what we have," Jones said. “This is why our country is what it is and it doesn’t have anything to do with politics, it’s about fighting for our country, defending our country, dying for our country so we can have freedom of the press, freedom of protest.”
He annually thanks veterans with advertisement featuring a sampling of family members in their military portraits dating to the Civil War. He did so again this year ahead of Veterans Day, whose recognition today in the area will include a ceremony by the Butler County Veterans Service Commission at 9 a.m. that will be steamed live on Facebook by TvHamilton.
The Veterans Service Commission is responsible for serving about 26,000 veterans, helping them navigate the Veterans Administration system to get medical help and other services, arranging and paying for transportation to medical appointments and finding local services for everything from legal issues to marriage counseling. It also annually names a Veteran of the Year, which it will do today.
That kind of recognition happens on a very personal level for Jones.
“It is a way of honoring my family and all veterans, all the veterans – And I am not the only person that has family that goes all the way back. It’s really interesting to research. We have done it on both sides of the family,” Jones said.
Jones' father, Dillard, fought in the Battle of the Bulge in Word War II, and his son, Richard Jr., walked in his grandfather’s footsteps while serving in the Army.
“My son went to the Battle of the Bulge walked the battle field, in the winter, in his combat boots to get a real feel for the sacrifice,” he said.
Mike Farmer, executive director of the Veterans Service Commission. said observing Veterans Day should be an honor for not just a veteran, but everyone within the community.
“It is a time that our community can come together to celebrate the men and women who were willing to at one time or another take the solemn oath and put their lives on the line to defend the freedoms that we enjoy everyday, and often times might be freedoms that we take for granted as a community member,” he said.
And that work can continue year-round, he said.
“Some veterans may use it as time to reflect on their service or those that they have served with, the community can celebrate and show veterans that they care," he said. "As a way to simply say thank you. At the Butler County Veterans Service Commission we like to say, ‘Where everyday is Veterans Day,’ as we deal with veterans and or their family members on a daily basis.”
Veterans Day events today
A parade will travel from Fairfield East Elementary beginning at 11 a.m. and proceed to Fairfield North Elementary, then move on to Heroes Park for an 11:30 a.m. ceremony that will include the presentation of a $10,000 check to Jim Smith, President of Laser Imaging and Design, as a deposit to purchase granite for the first phase of the Fairfield Township Veterans Memorial.
Butler County Veterans Service Commission
The commission will hold an event beginning at 9 a.m. that will be broadcast on Facebook Live by TvHamilton at which it will name is Veteran of the Year. The program will also include a keynote address by retired Lt. Gen. Paul Mikolashek and other recognitions.
A drive-thru luncheon event will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the parking lot of Hospice Care of Middletown. There are 100 meals and challenge coins set aside to deliver to the veterans in local nursing homes and assisted living centers.
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