Vets’ Hall of Fame is a special recognition

On Nov. 1, the Washington County Veterans Service Commission will hold its first Veterans Hall of Fame induction ceremony. The men and women in the first class of inductees displayed not only a willingness to serve their country in the military, but to continue serving upon their return to civilian life.

“We were taught to never leave a man behind,” said retired Marine David Smith, 83, of Marietta. “That applies out of uniform, too.”

There are more than 860,000 veterans living in Ohio. Mid-Ohio Valley communities have a history of sending a higher percentage of their young people to serve; and, in fact, there are approximately 3,600 veterans right here in Washington County, according to U.S. Census Bureau statistics.

It is important, then, for local residents to have the opportunity to honor those who were willing to serve — and keep serving. Those who were willing to fight and die often came home determined not to shed their sense of duty. Part of that is out of a feeling of responsibility to those who did not have the chance.

And so, they are soldiers, sailors, advocates, leaders — they are still defenders.

“We protected each other over there, we should protect each other here,” said retired Navy Seabee Ronnie Davis, 67, of Marietta.

Washington County residents are fortunate to have a place that begins to give these folks the recognition they deserve.