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Veterans honored at downtown ceremony

Jessica Cuffman • Nov 12, 2012 at 12:07 PM

"Everywhere we look around the world, we see flags," said Erie County Common Pleas Judge Roger Binette, the speaker this year for the annual ceremony.

They represent what people believe in and who they are.

In America, the white and red stripes, the 50 white stars on a blue background, each detail represents something different, starting with bloodshed and sacrifice and adding up to freedom.

"Our flag represents our country," Binette said. "Though we have differences of political opinion, we are united."

The beliefs in life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That all men are created equally. In freedom of religion and speech.

"Government is by the people and for the people," he said. "And freedom is not free."

The red, white and blue flag of the United States says to the world: We have gone to war to defend our freedom and principles.

Sunday's ceremony included the singing of the National Anthem and recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance.

Binette encouraged that the next time anyone pledge's allegiance to the flag, they embrace the gravity of their words.

He encouraged all to remember that veterans have made that pledge not only with their words, but with their lives.

Color guards from the Marine Corps, American Legion and AMVETS marched out of First Presbyterian Church to the Vacationland Band playing Stars and Stripes Forever.

The crowd followed them in their short march north to Veterans Memorial Park, where wreaths were laid in tribute to the Erie County residents who have been killed in wars.

The Ohio Veterans Home firing squad gave a gun salute, and two members of the Perkins High School marching band played taps to conclude the ceremony.

The picture perfect fall day was a stark contrast to some years Sanduskians Ruth and John Zimmerman have attended the ceremony,

They've gone each year since 1978, when John left the U.S. Navy after 10 years of active duty.

"It's a very good ceremony, any time I can be here," he said.

Though Sunday was picturesque, he's stood in Veterans Memorial park through snow blowing horizontally across the block.

His wife, Ruth, appreciated the service being held on Veterans Day, rather than on Monday, when many will observe the holiday.

"It should be on Veterans Day," she said.

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