Traveling Tribute opening ceremony, Oct. 10, in Union Twp.

When the American Veterans’ Traveling Tribute exhibit officially opens at noon Thursday, Oct. 10 at Union Township’s Veterans’ Memorial Park, it will be with the reverence and solemnity this wall of names deserves.

Timothy Donnellon, chairman of the Union Township Board of Trustees, will give the welcome and act as emcee for the program. After his welcoming address, the schedule of events includes:

Presenting of the Colors – US Army Eastgate Recruiting Station Color Guard
Pledge of Allegiance – Steve Tam, Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 649
National Anthem – USAF Wright Patterson Brass Band
B-25 Flyover – Tri-state War Bird Museum
POW/MIA Remembrance Ceremony – Mark Brandon, President, VVA 649
Invocation – Chaplain William Graybill, VVA 649, American Legion, VFW
Blessing of the Wall – Associate Pastor John Baird, Eastgate Community Church
Placing of the POW/MIA Wreath – Mark Brandon, President, VVA 649
Sounding of The Bell, Reading of The Names – Cliff Riley, President, and Howard Daugherty, Executive Director, Clermont County Veterans Service Commission
Music – USAF Wright Patterson Brass Band
Keynote Speaker – Glenn Welling, Vice-President of Operations, USO, Washington D.C.
Benediction – Chaplain William Graybill, VVA 649, American Legion, VFW
Retrieval of the Colors – US Army Eastgate Recruiting Station Color Guard

The POW/MIA Remembrance Ceremony is a symbolic one wherein prisoners of war and missing in action are honored. Mark Brandon, president of Vietnam Veterans of America, Clermont County Chapter 649, and a Vietnam veteran, will read the script that explains the meaning behind the various items on the set table. The broader representation is that of those missing from this ceremony, but each item is significant in its meaning. For instance, the slice of lemon reminds us of the bitter fate of those captured and missing in a foreign land. The pinch of salt represents the tears of our missing and their loved ones. Of course, the bible represents the strength gained through faith in our country, founded as one nation under God.

The names of local military who lost their lives in Vietnam will be read during the Sounding of the Bell, Reading of the Names portion of the ceremony by Cliff Riley, president, and Howard Daugherty, executive director of the Clermont County Veterans Service Commission. Both are Vietnam veterans who are also members of VVA 649. This is always a solemn and poignant portion of any veterans’ ceremony.

Clermont County native Glenn Welling is the keynote speaker. Welling serves as the Vice President of Operations for the United Service Organizations (USO) in Arlington VA. In this role, he provides strategic direction for the USO’s more than 160 locations worldwide. His responsibilities include managing strategic relationships across the organization as well as overseeing the flow or projects, issues and decision briefs impacting Chartered Center Operations, Field Operations, Volunteer Services, and Facilities and Logistics for USO Operations worldwide.

Welling came to the USO in early 2013 after serving as the Executive Director of the Department of Defense’s Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program, promoting the well-being of 1.2 million National Guard and Reserve members, their families and communities, by connecting them with resources throughout the deployment cycle. Prior to 2010, Welling served for 15 years as a faculty member and Director of the Ohio State University’s Extension Programs in southwestern Ohio.

He continues his more than 34 years of military service as a Command Master Chief in the Navy Reserve at Naval Air Facility Washington D.C. He also serves as a faculty advisor at the Naval War College Senior Enlisted Academy. A combat veteran, he deployed to Iraq in 2008-2009 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and was awarded the Bronze Star medal.

Welling holds a bachelor’s degree in Geography and Environmental Science and a Master’s in Economic Geography from the University of Cincinnati. He and his wife, Marie, along with two of their four children, reside in Bristow VA.

The Opening Ceremony has been planned with care and meaning. Please join us to welcome the American Veterans’ Traveling Tribute to Clermont County.

The exhibit will run from Thursday, Oct. 10, through Sunday, Oct. 13, at Veterans’ Memorial Park, Glen Este-Withamsville Road and Clough Pike, Union Township. The exhibit is free and open to the public 24 hours a day.

Parking is available at the Union Township Civic Center, 4350 Aicholtz Road, Cincinnati, Ohio 45245. Free shuttle service to the park will be available. There will be limited parking at the park for the handicapped, and golf carts will be on hand to take those with disabilities over to the wall.

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