MIAMI COUNTY — Local veterans of the United States Armed Forces will be honored during Veterans Day ceremonies and other events being held on Friday, Saturday and beyond.
The Piqua Veterans’ Association will be holding the annual Veterans Day ceremony at the Piqua Veterans Memorial, which is adjacent to Forest Hill Cemetery, beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday. Everyone — especially veterans — is welcome to attend.
The guest speaker at the event will be Piqua veteran Harry Ashburn, who enlisted in the U.S. Army in October 1942. He served with the 3349th Quartermaster Truck Company, which was involved with campaigns in the Solomon Islands at New Georgia and Bouganville. Later, his company participated in the invasion of Luzon in the Philippine Islands and the capture of Manila.
After the war, Ashburn attended Otterbein College, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in history, followed by a master of education degree from Ohio University. He served as a teacher and administrator in Ohio schools for 36 years, including his final 19 years as principal for Bennett Junior High School in Piqua.
In Troy, a Veterans Day ceremony and program have been scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday at the Veterans Memorial at Riverside Cemetery. The ceremony and program are sponsored by the Veterans Memorial Honor Guard of Troy. The inclement weather location is the VFW Post, 2220 LeFevre Road in Troy.
Next week, Miami County Liberty will present a Veterans Day program called “Last Hours in Saigon,” during which local veteran and Miami County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Dave Norman will share his experience of the evacuation of the U.S. Embassy in Saigon. Norman, who also is the county’s jail administrator, will speak at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 14, at the Concord Room, 845 W. Market St., Troy.
In early 1972, Norman learned his draft number was 10, which meant he would be drafted into military service after graduating high school. Instead of being drafted, he enlisted in the Marine Corps delayed entry program in March 1972. After high school graduation, he went to Marine Corps Basic Training at San Diego, graduating in December, then went to infantry training at Camp Pendleton, California.
In March 1973, Norman volunteered for assignment to a Marine Corps infantry unit in South Vietnam. Upon completion of his first tour of duty in Vietnam a year later, he volunteered to attend the Marine Security Guard (MSG) School in Arlington, Virginia. After completing MSG training, he was assigned duties at the American Embassy in Saigon. He worked as a member of the Marine Security Detachment at the American Embassy through the evacuation in April 1975, after which he was assigned to the American Consulate in Frankfort, Germany until September 1976.
After leaving the Marine Corps, Norman returned to his hometown of Fairborn. He now lives in Staunton Township with his wife, Susie.
Other Veterans Day events planned in the area include:
• Piqua Central Intermediate School will serve those who served with a Veterans Day breakfast from 8:30 to 9:45 a.m. Friday at the school, located at 807 Nicklin Ave.
• The fifth graders at L.T. Ball Intermediate School in Tipp City will be conducting a Veterans Day ceremony at Veterans Park on the corner of Main and Hyatt with the help of the American Legion. The event starts at 10 a.m. Friday and will include a gun salute.
• The Pleasant Hill community would like to honor veterans at 9:45 a.m. Friday at Newton Local High School in the junior high gym. Veterans, plan to meet in the board of education room at 9:15 a.m. and sign in before the assembly. Family members wishing to attend with the veterans are also welcome. There will be reception following the ceremony. Make a reservation by calling (937) 676-2002. However, all walk-ins are welcome.
• The American Legion Post 586, 377 N. 3rd St., Tipp City will present their annual Veteran’s Day ceremony at 11 a.m. Saturday. Bean soup and cornbread will follow. Saturday evening enjoy karaoke at 7 p.m.
• Caldwell House will host a free educational workshop about the VA Aid and Attendance benefit at 1 p.m. Saturday. This event is open to the public and will take place at 2900 Corporate Drive, Troy. Call (937) 573-4158 to register.
Reach Belinda M. Paschal at firstname.lastname@example.org or (937) 451-3341