Ottney: Thank you to veteransWritten by Sarah Ottney | Managing Editor | firstname.lastname@example.org
Toledo Free Press received a huge response to last year’s inaugural Military Yearbook and this year’s response was even more enthusiastic. The issue, published June 30, featured the names and faces of more than 100 area men and women who proudly wear the uniform of the United States military, hailing from every era and branch of service. Many have siblings, parents, children and other family members who also served.
There’s a special blend of pride, patriotism and camaraderie shared by military members and it spans the generations. I witnessed it June 26 watching veterans interact at Honor Flight of Northwest Ohio’s latest welcome home celebration. I witnessed it June 5-9 at the traveling Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Toledo. And I’ve seen it in my own family.
My grandfather, Alfred Ottney, and brother-in-law, Alex Wolff (both pictured in last week’s yearbook) joined the Navy more than 60 years apart, yet find more common ground than I’d expect about their experiences, comparing stories every chance they get.
Military families — parents, spouses, children and significant others who go months at a time without being able to embrace, lean on or know their loved one is safe — also sacrifice.
Growing up, my grandma taught all her grandchildren the proper way to fold a flag, warning us to never let it touch the ground. My parents illuminate their flag at night or take it down each evening. They remove their hats and place their hands over their hearts during the national anthem. They attend a Memorial Day service every year and linger afterward at gravesites, willing to sacrifice a few hours to pay their respects.
I’m thankful now I was raised with that kind of reverence and attitude of gratitude toward those who serve.