DUBLIN, OH (WCMH) — One local suburban community chose to honor veterans after Veterans Day.
Because Dublin City Schools had a professional development day for teachers on Friday, students did not have classes. Veterans Day fell on a Saturday, so city officials said they chose to have the commemoration on a Monday to ensure students were involved.
Students at John Sells Middle School gave veterans a warm welcome to their gym with a wreath-laying ceremony, Amazing Grace played on the flute by a student and another sang the Star Spangled Banner.
Former Navy Lieutenant Richard Cragg was one of the honored military veterans. While many veterans served during war times, Cragg was at the heart of a different kind of war, The Cold War and Cuban Missile Crisis.
Crass served on both the USS Intrepid and Enterprise. He was the Assistant Navigator on the Nuclear-powered Enterprise on her maiden voyage. “The Navy said this is our chance anything we break they have to fix,” said Cragg
“My main job was officer of the deck, meaning I was driving the ship,” Cragg said.
He saw history first-hand.
“In fact Pres. John Kennedy came aboard our ship, not during the crisis but, before when he was on the Northampton then he came over on our ship,” he said.
As Russians transported nuclear missiles to Cuban, World War III loomed.
“We had a lot of destroyers protecting us from submarines, fortunately all the Russian submarines were up north,” he said. “We were travelling more than 30 knots and my greatest fear was running over a destroyer, especially at night.”
Although he can kid about it now, as a young man he said he thought his days might be numbered.
“I thought I’m on the wrong ship if this gets into a war, because this would be like the Bismarck, we would be the first one taken out,” Crass said.
Cragg and all other veterans are examples of why Veterans Day is about more than just a commemoration, it honors men and women who are walking history lessons.
Lauri Kline, a team leader at the Franklin County Veterans Service Commission was the keynote speaker. She also spent 24 years in the Air Force, during the Wars in Bosnia and Persian Gulf. She helps veterans with financial assistance during emergency situations and to apply for their VA benefits. “It helps us to recognize issues veterans face because we have been in those situations,” Kline said. If they cannot help, Kline said they have partnerships with referrals to other agencies around the city.
The City of Dublin has a long history of honoring those who have served, a monument in front of the old high school on Dublin Granville Road right beside the middle school, lists all the Dublin High School students who served during WW II.