Navy PO Avery Smith talks to his daughter Madison, 10, and son, David, 11, after the remembrance service at the Civic Center Mall.
Navy PO Avery Smith had his arm wrapped around his daughter Madison on Saturday, waiting for a Memorial Day remembrance to begin.
Petty Officer Smith, 34, who has been stationed in Toledo for the last five months, had just finished marching in the Memorial Day parade and was about to participate in the memorial service at the Civic Center Mall behind the Safety Building downtown.
"For us active-duty guys, it's exciting [to see the veterans]," he said. "They paved the way for us. … They understand what we're going through. It's a good passing of the torch."
His wife, Ravon, and their three children, Jocellen, 13, David, 11, and Madison, 10, were there, watching their hero.
"He's really cool," Madison said of her father. "I like to see him in his uniform."
Added David, "My dad is someone who protects the U.S. He's someone who is fun to hang out with. And he's the world's best dad."
Dressed in T-shirts representing different branches of the military and standing before veterans and active-duty personnel, nine Toledo-area recruits were sworn in as members of the U.S. military.
The eight men and one woman, sworn in by Army Capt. Justin Blades, are to leave for basic training toward the end of summer.
Taking the oath of enlistment were Army recruits Douglas Brownfield, 17, of Toledo, Richard Wolford, 18, of Toledo, Joseph Horak, 17, of Toledo, Jerry Palermo, 18, of Toledo, and Jacob McGibbeny, 17, of Lake Township, and Air Force recruits Jessica Gaines, 21, of Toledo, Jeff Schoch, 20, of Springfield Township, Joe Moreland, 19, of Toledo, and Joshua Vance, 24, of Perrysburg.
During the memorial service, six chairs draped in black cloth held one service hat each, representing each branch of the military, to signify the men and women killed or missing in action and prisoners of war.
"Today's military is as strong and resilient as all the veterans here and all those listed on the wall behind me," Maj. Jeffrey Brooks said.
Army Capt. Justin Blades swears in nine local Army and Air Force recruits at the Civic Center Mall downtown.
U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo) dedicated her speech to the new recruits.
"We are taught to never forget those who have served and those who [continue to] serve," she said, paying special tribute to those who "took their last breaths in a foreign land."
Mayor Mike Bell, just back from a nine-day trip to China, said the memorial was to "figure out how to celebrate the lives of those who have passed."
He said Americans often "don't think about what it took to have this freedom."
A man sitting near the Vietnam Veterans memorial cheered.
"[The military] is prepared at a moment's notice -- and that's the part we forget -- to give their life for us," Mayor Bell said.