Countless members of the community gathered at Tracy Park on Veterans Day, as they do every year, to pay respect to those who have served the country.
The crowd was thick, having the collective attention of members of Notre Dame Elementary School, Scioto County government officials, Portsmouth West High School Marching Band, and many more.
Few guests spoke and Kenneth Crawford shaped the ceremony into a beautiful tribute.
Crawford is involved in the American Legion, where he is the adjutant of Post 23, and he is involved in the Scioto County Veteran Commission (SCVC). He said this year was extra special to him, on a personal level, because it was the last one he will lead, since he is retiring this year from the SCVC.
“It is a great honor to honor veterans,” said the Vietnam veteran, who served from 1968 to 1970. “I served two tours and it is a great honor to just be where I am today, honoring the people who have sacrificed their lives and for the living veterans who have sacrificed something. I hope every American realizes that veterans give for the love of their country and to keep freedom.”
During the ceremony, Crawford spoke heavily on what it means to serve and be an American. He also told the crowd that being a civilian has its duties, from starting a family to being a good citizen.
“I think the program shows that we are not forgetting those who lost their life and that we honor those who are still with us,” Crawford said. “It is just an opportunity to give honor.”
The celebration carried over, as usual, to American Legion Post 23, where the community was invited to have a free dinner with the veterans.
“It is an opportunity to eat good food— beans and cornbread and fried apples— and just sit down and tell war stories and socialize,” Crawford said. “We invite young people to come down, as well as those veterans who are not members, to come down and just talk about what today means.”
Reach Joseph Pratt at 740-353-3101, ext. 1932, or by Twitter @JosephPratt03.