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Veterans honored at 4th annual OST

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    Veterans from around the area were honored for their service by the City of Dayton. The Vindicator | Russell Payne
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    Taps were performed to honor all of the veterans no longer with us. The Vindicator | Russell Payne

DAYTON – Veterans assembled for the 4th Annual OST Veterans Parade on Saturday; while there wasn’t a parade this year as bad weather had been expected, the celebration did go on.

The event was started with an introduction from Mayor Caroline Wadzeck and a prayer from First Baptist Church of Dayton’s Colin Errington, who prayed over our nation’s veterans.

During the Mayor’s comments, she spoke briefly about the history of the Old Spanish Trail, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary over the next decade, which will be capped off with a motorcade grand finale in 2029 from San Augustine, FL to San Diego, CA.

“This highway was originally dedicated State Highway 3 after it was completed in Texas, and the portion through Dayton was completed by 1927,” Wadzeck continued, “the Dayton City Council referred to it as OST in the city council minutes all the way through the 1940s.”

The call to cancel this year’s trip down the OST was called off Tuesday out of a worry that rains would have been problematic for the antique cars that normally transport the veterans.

Wadzeck then went around the room and asked each veteran to introduce themselves and give their military background.

Next, the program was turned over to Commander Richard Overbay from the Nolan D. Pickett VFW Post 5621 in Liberty.

Overbay briefly described the VFW and the history of the Liberty post, which has been around for over 75 years, working to support all boots-on-the-ground veterans in foreign wars.

He then made a case for younger veterans to get involved, pointing out that not only are the last of the World War II veterans leaving us every day, but only a third of the Vietnam era remain. He also pointed out that the average age of a VFW member is 72 years old nationwide.

“ We need young members to join the VFW and support our military veterans of all military branches of services in the state and nationally,” said Overbay.

Next up, Commander Mark Mc-Clelland of the American Legion Dayton Memorial Post 512 delivered remarks and a brief history of the founding of the largest veteran service organization in the country, which honors all wartime veterans. He also echoed the call for young members.

“ Like Richard said, we need members. We need younger people,” said McClelland.

As the program ended, taps were performed in honor of all veterans who were no longer with us.

After the program, veterans were honored with a lunch catered by Mike’s BBQ.

Make plans now to attend next year’s program on the first Saturday in November, and hopefully, the parade will make a return, good weather forecast permitting. The City of Dayton sponsored the event.