The day of 15 November 2012 was a difficult one at your Ohio Statehouse. In a Joint Convention of the 129th General Assembly we honored the families of 28 Ohio service members killed in the ongoing war against terror. Each received the Ohio Military Medal of Distinction—a small token of our appreciation for such great sacrifice.
The Ohio Military Medal of Distinction was established in 2009 by Ohio Senate Bill 248. It features a gold star, the five points of which signify the branches of the service: Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard. On the star is the great Seal of Ohio. The star is set upon a laurel wreath and is suspended by a ribbon of red, white, blue and gray. It is a stunningly beautiful military medal.
Members of our armed forces converged upon the Statehouse for this special ceremony. All looked sharp and crisp in their best dress uniforms. They were posted in key places throughout the Ohio House Chamber, and served as escorts for the bereaved families. Also present and posted all around were members of the Ohio Patriot Guard Riders. They formed a firm and solemn over-watch for the ceremony, just as they do at the funerals of our fallen heroes.
As each name was read aloud, a bell sounded once, clear and sharp. The family members stepped forth, and were presented with a framed medal. As these families walked across the floor of the House, the pain and sorrow in their faces was evident. Parents, siblings, spouses, children and other relatives stepped up to receive the posthumous award. There were few dry eyes among those present.
The ceremony concluded with a bagpipe rendition of ‘Amazing Grace’. That sound was absolutely haunting as it rang throughout the expanse of the People’s House. The piper marched away, still playing, the music fading as he departed.
God bless our fallen Ohioans who gave their lives so that we can remain a free nation. Let us pause and honor their sacrifice and pray for the safe return of those who remain in the field, protecting us from our enemies.
Freedom is certainly not free—it is very, very expensive…