Korean War Veteran Henry Bahler, left, talks with Vietnam Veteran Attison Digby after the Veterans Appreciation Breakfast and Resource Fair in Savage Arena at the University of Toledo.
THE BLADE/ZACK CONKLE
More than 450 people gathered at the University of Toledo's Savage Arena today for the Eighth Annual Veterans Appreciation Breakfast.
Those in attendance enjoyed a free breakfast, time to socialize with other veterans, and the pleasure of hearing a resounding “thank you” from their community.
Held annually on Veteran’s Day – or, like this year, the day on which Veteran’s Day is celebrated – the breakfast is sponsored by several local businesses and community organizations. In addition to scrambled eggs and sausage links, veterans and their families are offered a chance to browse booths where they can gather information about groups or services they may need.
The event not only celebrated the veterans who were at the event but also remembered the many who weren’t.
A memorial ceremony complete with the color guard and “Taps” was a part of the event “to honor, to remember, and to pay tribute to those brave individuals who fought for our liberties,” said Cadet LTC Joshua Fletcher, a member of the UT U.S. Army ROTC.
Although planned to be held at the Veteran’s Memorial Plaza on the UT campus, the ceremony was held inside because of rain. The unyielding weather, however, did not dampen the spirits of those who came together to see old friends and meet new ones.
Ralph Trease of Toledo and his wife, Elizabeth, both 88, said they enjoyed seeing the “old timers.” A World War II veteran who served as a corporal in the Army, Mr. Trease said he appreciated the community’s efforts to “recognize and appreciate the veterans.”
A member of the Veterans of Foreign War Post 5530, Mr. Trease said he hopes the younger generation of veterans will become active in local organizations that offer support and camaraderie.
“We have a lot of young veterans coming out now,” he said. “…We’re having trouble encouraging them to become more involved.”
In addition to members of the military, several local public servants were on hand to honor veterans, including Toledo Mayor Mike Bell and State Rep. Teresa Fedor (D., Toledo). The keynote address was given by Col. Steven Nordhaus, commander of the 180th Fighter Wing of the Ohio National Guard.