Don Yingling, 82, Bellevue, served in the Army in Japan during the Korean Conflict.
“I thought it was wonderful, a very touching ceremony,” he said afterward.
Al Spoerr, 62, Bellevue, was a helicopter gunner in Vietnam in 1971 and 1972.
“I lost friends, crew members of helicopters,” he said.
An Ohio chapter of Rolling Thunder brought a wall listing names of Ohio natives missing in action in Vietnam.
“This is Ohio’s POW-MIA wall,” said Paul Cline of Mount Vernon, a member of the group. “There are 137 names, all from Ohio, all MIA.” The Firelands Military Vehicle group, a charity that promotes historical preservation, displayed several vehicles in the parking lot, including Army trucks and Jeeps. The group, which is centered in Sandusky and has about 90 members, also brought a small cannon.
“That little beastie over there is one of ours,” said Pat Thompson, president of the group. “That’s a saluting gun. We have requests for funerals. We’ve done several funerals.”
A new group, Lake Erie Shores Blue Star Mothers, had a table at the event. It’s a support group for men and women serving overseas. Formed in January, it counts 12 members so far and has just dispatched 20 packages to local service men and women serving in Afghanistan.
“My son was deployed in 2011 to Afghanistan,” said Barb Cook, 46, Bellevue, the group’s president. “He said, ‘Hey Mom, look up Blue Star Mothers.’ We’re always looking for new members.”
Anyone interested in information may call Cook at 419-681-5832 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org .