A crowd of approximately 50 persons turned out in a drizzling rain in front of the Vinton County Courthouse to attend the annual Vinton County Veterans Day Program. The event was organized by Vinton County Veteran Services Officer Tim Reid.

The keynote speaker was Vinton County Common Pleas Court Judge James P. Salyer, who is a retired military officer who holds the rank of captain. Vinton County Probate-Juvenile Judge Bob Grillo spoke of the horrors involved when a family is told they have lost a loved one. He also read the names of Vinton County’s 99 county war dead. The National Anthem was also sung by Abby Owens, who has been doing so for many years now. There were also remarks with Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 5299 representative Aaron Madosky, and a 21-gun salute from Post 5299 members.

During his remarks, Judge Salyer stated the U.S. military and the veterans have two purposes: Fighting in wars and being a deterrent toward wars.

“Regardless of how one feels about the policies that lead to war, there should be no doubt that veterans served with honor,” said the Judge. “They serve to make life better for others, they preserve our freedom. A common bond shared by veterans is an oath in which they express their willingness to die defending this nation. However, he said, the military is also a deterrent to war as countries and armies consider what they may be facing.

“Perhaps most significant in preserving our way of life are the battles that America does not have to fight,” Judge Salyer stated, “because those who wish us harm slink away in fear of the Coast Guard cutter, the Navy aircraft carrier, the Air Force fighter squadron, the Marine Corps, and the fire team where the Army soldier is on patrol.”

He stated despite all they do, the spirit of veterans gets low, and far too many veterans choose to end his or her life. “More than 20 veterans a day take their own lives,” Judge Salyer reported. “Only those who have experienced firsthand the horrors of combat, can understand why so many of these men and women feel compelled to take such drastic and permanent measures.

“The U.S. Army reported a 30 percent increase in suicides among its active-duty troops in 2020. We must do everything possible to stop these needless deaths, seek out veterans, and see if they need your help and friendship.”

The judge concluded that veterans need respect and community support.

“Those of us gathered here to observe Veterans Day have already indicated our support for the outstanding men and women who have served our country,” Salyer declared. “Tell veterans directly that you love them, that you appreciate them, that you are grateful for their service. We are their friends, their family, their co-workers, and their neighbors. It is up to us to ensure that every veteran feels that his or her service to this country is appreciated.”

After the ceremony, people were able to go inside the courthouse and ring the county Bicentennial Bell to honor a lost loved one and veteran.