During the ceremony, families and volunteers from the crowd carried 294 flags from the stage to be displayed among hundreds of other flags.
The ceremony ended just as the sun set, bagpipers playing a fitting tribute to the fallen servicemembers. By that time, there were few dry eyes to be found in the crowd.
Robert Ward and the Huron County Veterans Service Office honored Flags of Honor founder Gino Zimmer for the work he does — presenting him with a coin which read “United in Resilience,” in Latin. Mayor Rob Duncan also designated the first weekend in Aug. “Flags of Honor days.”
Retired Brigadier Gen. Mark Scheid was the guest speaker for the event. While he could have spoke simply of patriotism and supporting the troops, he went further than that.
Scheid recalled his own time in the armed forces. How, while he was more concerned about results than his own safety, he had no clue what he was putting his family through.
“While I stood tall and proud, I looked over at my two girls and my wife who were crying,” Scheid said during his speech. “That day was a wakeup call for me.”
“I knew I was fighting for something just,” said the General, who added he was always proud he joined the service.
Still, he claimed the struggle of a family that loses a member in action could be worse than what any soldier injured in the line of duty goes through. That soldier can focus on recovery, and may still have a chance to return to duty. They also have pride in serving their country, as Scheid did.
“They just want to get better so they can return to their unit,” he said.
During the speech, he also spoke about the experience of seeing war zones firsthand, and coming to realize that most of the people there were just like anyone else.
“These civilians just want the same thing we want — a better way of life for themselves, and a better life for their children,” Scheid said. “You soon realize they are not the enemy.”
Scheid requested support for veterans, especially those with PTSD, injuries and those still in service.
“You will never forget the loss of your loved one,” he said. “But please know they did not die in vain.”